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Sick teen takes breath of hope

A typical teenage girl might ask for an IPod, cellphone, maybe even anew car for her 16th birthday, but Haley Gall is anything but typical.


A typical teenage girl might ask for an IPod, cellphone, maybe even a new car for her 16th birthday, but Haley Gall is anything but typical. The 15-year-old Hinton girl just received a set of new lungs — a gift that came just in time to save her life.


“About two days before the lungs came, they told us they would permanently incubate her in the intensive care unit and she would slowly suffocate,” said Laura Pringle Gall, who joined her daughter in the hospital atrium to talk about the groundbreaking operation.


“They didn’t give her much hope, maybe a week or so.”


Haley has cystic fibrosis, a condition that weakened her immune system so severely that she could barely breathe on her own. Before her life-saving surgery she spent five months at Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital hooked up to oxygen 24 hours a day.


It’s been two weeks since the surgery, and doctors say that though the teen will still require treatment for her condition for the rest of her life, she could live an extra 10 to 15 years.


“It’s probably the most serious operation anyone can have,” said Dr. Dale Lien, Haley’s thoracic surgeon. “Though she still needs treatment, her future looks very bright.”


Haley’s new lungs have not shown any signs of rejection, and medical staff are confident that will continue. The surgery is the second ever performed at the Stollery, and has truly left the teen with a new lease on life.


“It’s a great gift — the best thing you can do is give someone their life back,” Haley said. “I’m going to go swimming, hiking, camping, and do all the strenuous activities I just couldn’t do before, but now I can.”
“People have been telling me they’ve been doing everything to send a message to God,” her mother Laura added. “He must have been listening.”


-victoria.handysides@metronews.ca


 
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