As you all may know by now, January 2nd is Sid Vahal’s birthday!
Every year, we celebrate his birthday along with a new year. The Sid Foundation was created to keep Sid’s legacy alive and help lung transplant patients like him beat the odds.
Today, Sid would have been 36 years old. Although lung transplant complications took him away at 29 years old, he will always be with us in our hearts.
Thank you for helping us keep Sid’s legacy alive by supporting The Sid Foundation!
You can learn more about Sid’s story here.
First, we want to acknowledge how difficult 2020 was. Many of us lost friends and family to COVID-19. Our country continues to be in a state of racial unrest. So many people are struggling for food and shelter. It was an especially dangerous year for lung transplant patients because of their compromised immune system which increases their chances of dying from COVID-19. We are excited to hear that the COVID-19 vaccine is being provided to healthcare workers. However, it will be months before it is available to everyone.
As we reflect on 2020 and all the hardships we have faced around the world, we want to express our solidarity and our support to those affected by the events of the past year. We cannot simply move on from these events, however, we can continue to try harder to make the world better in 2021.
We lost much of our funding in 2020. Due to COVID-19, we had an understandably sharp decline in donors. However, we continued our work at a smaller scale.
We are grateful to have been able to accomplish most of our goals for 2020 even if they were at a much smaller scale. Here is what we have planned for 2021...
COVID-19 will continue to be a part of our world in 2021 so we have adjusted our goals to take that into account. We set these goals with a low budget in mind, however, if our funding increases, we will adjust the goals accordingly.
Despite the difficult times, we have hope that things will get better in the future and that we will be able to continue helping lung transplant patients beat the odds and thrive post transplantation.
Thank you for supporting The Sid Foundation for all these years and for helping us keep Sid’s legacy alive.
We hope you all have better times and good health in the new year!
Click here to make a donation to The Sid Foundation.
The Sid Foundation and Lung Girl Face Masks
You can now get face masks with the our logo or Lung Girl and Ecmo on it for only $14.95 plus shipping at our online store! All proceeds from these face masks will go towards our Lung Transplant Patient Support Program.
Buy them here.
Most of us take breathing for granted until we or someone we know begins to suffer from COPD, asthma or another debilitating lung disease. In addition to long term breathing problems, many of these diseases can lead to a lung transplant. Maintaining good lung health is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus attacks the lungs and causes severe breathing problems even after your recover from it.
Here are some activities that you can do to strengthen your lungs and decrease your chances of needing a transplant in the future.
These activities are listed according to fitness level. If you aren’t particularly athletic, start with the beginner level activities. If you are an athletic person, try them all!
Beginner Fitness Level (Recommended for any age group):
1. Laughter Yoga- Laughter yoga combines breathing practices from traditional yoga with deep belly laughter. Deep belly laughter forces your lungs to expand more than they normally would and replaces the carbon dioxide that sits at the bottom of your lungs with oxygen. In between the laughter exercises, laughter yoga also incorporates deep breathing exercises causing you to take fewer, more effective, breaths overall.
2. Yoga- Yoga is founded upon breathing practices. In yoga, you consciously take long, deep breaths while practicing different poses and/or meditating. The long inhales and even longer exhales force the carbon dioxide that sits at the bottom of your lungs out and makes room for more oxygen. These exercises also help you slow down your breathing so you take fewer, more effective, breaths.
Intermediate Fitness Level (Recommended for any age group):
3. Biking- Biking is a cardiovascular exercise that forces you to use your lungs to their maximum capacity for an extended period of time which strengthens them.
Advanced Fitness Level (Recommended age group: teens-50s):
4. Long Distance Running- Similar to biking, long distance running forces you to use your lungs to their maximum capacity for an extended period of time. This helps you get rid of all the carbon dioxide that sits at the bottom of your lungs and makes room for more oxygen. More oxygen in your lungs means more oxygen in your blood which results in better overall health.
5. High Intensity Cardio -HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), sprints, and jump rope are examples of high intensity cardio. They include a regimen of short bursts of anaerobic exercises which leave you out of breath. They are an intense cardiovascular activity that force you to use your lungs to their maximum capacity. The more you use your lungs to their full capacity, the healthier they will be.
If you struggle with your lung capacity, try starting with beginner level exercises like laughter yoga and slowly advancing to the more difficult ones like biking around town or in nature.
In 2019, we donated some of the funds we raised to the University of Kentucky Hospital Lung Transplant Program for the second time.
The 2019 donation was used in the following ways:
1.) Supported Research Project 1: "Extracorporeal Photopheresis for the Management of Progressive Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome in Medicare-Eligible Recipients of Lung Allografts."
2.) Supported Research Project 2: "A Phase III, Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial to Demonstrate the Effectiveness and Safety of Liposomal Cyclosporine A (L-CsA) Inhalation Solution Delivered via the PARI Investigational eFLOW Device plus Standard of Care versus Standard of Care Alone in the Treatment of Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome in Patients post Double Lung Transplantation."
3.) Supported Research Project 3: "A Phase 3, Multicenter Randomized Open label Active controlled Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Maribavir Treatment Compared to Investigator assigned treatment in transplant recipients with Cytomegalovirus Infections."
4.) Helped lung transplant patients at the hospital pay for post transplantation medication.
We also donated 20 care packages to the hospital to distribute to their lung transplant patients. To learn more about what's in our care packages click here.
Thank you so much to all our donors for making this possible. You are helping lung transplant patients beat the odds and thrive by supporting our organization. We could not have done this without you!
To read a detailed report of all the research we supported through our donation, click on the PDF below:
We are deeply saddened by the state of our country right now.
As a nonprofit, our work is always to help those who are underserved or those whose voices are unheard in the community.
In the last five years, despite meeting and getting to know many lung transplant patients, we couldn’t help but notice the lack of diversity in people who are able to get a lung transplant in this country. It is because of economic and racial inequality in the United States that many people of color do not have access to the healthcare system. This means that there are many people of color who have lung diseases and need lung transplants, but cannot afford to see a doctor or get a transplant because of a lack of health insurance or funding.
Because of this disparity, we have been able to help very few people of color who need lung transplants. They often just don’t have the resources to get one.
Our goal for the near future is to continue to build ourselves and raise more funds so that we can not only financially assist lung transplant patients who are already on their way to getting a transplant, but also have the resources and funding to help more people of color who may not even get the opportunity to see a doctor about their lung health issues and help them pay for an entire transplant.
The state of our country is especially grave right now. Again, due to racial inequality, COVID-19 has been disproportionately killing Black and Indigenous Americans. On top of that, today police brutality is one of the leading causes of deaths for Black males in America. The combination of COVID-19 and racial inequality affects lung transplant patients of color in more devastating ways than white lung transplant patients and makes their survival much more difficult. In addition to lung transplants being expensive, over half of lung transplant patients do not live more than 5 years post transplant. These odds of survival are lessened even more for transplant patients of color due to the factors I mentioned earlier.
We stand in solidarity with our Black lung transplant patients as well as Black Americans with lung health issues. We stand in solidarity with all Black Americans during this difficult time. We hope to continue to grow our small nonprofit to serve your needs more efficiently in the near future.
I am the President of The Sid Foundation and am a woman of color. Although nonprofits like ours (run by POC) are statistically doomed to fail within the first couple of years and do not receive as much funding as nonprofits run by white board members and administrators, we are going to continue to beat the odds to serve our community.
Due to COVID-19, our organization has taken a huge hit financially. We are not stopping our work, however, and will continue to keep moving forward until we see better times.
We hope that our immunocompromised transplant patients have the ability to stay home and stay safe. If not, we hope that you have access to protective gear to keep yourself as safe as possible.
To our supporters who are not immunocompromised, please keep transplant patients and anyone else that might be immunocompromised in your thoughts as you go about your daily activities to make sure you are making the environment safer for them.
Here are some resources that you can use to help you stay safe during these times.
You can also donate to these organizations to help others stay safe:
The World Health Organization
The National Healthcare for the Homeless Council
The American Civil Liberties Union
Black Lives Matter
The Minnesota Freedom Fund
This month is The Sid Foundation’s 5 year anniversary!
Over the last 5 years, we’ve raised more than $50,000 to support lung transplant research and patients. We’ve also published three Lung Girl comic books, created tons of educational content online, and hosted several community events.
We couldn’t have done all of this without your help!
A huge thank you to our corporate sponsors:
Our recurring individual donors:
And all individual donors (see list here) for helping us grow throughout the years!
Also, thank you to all of you who purchased a comic book, t-shirt, or other merchandise from us.
We are so grateful for all your support and hope to continue to make you proud to sponsor our work.
The Sid Foundation was established one year after my brother Sid Vahal passed away due to complications from his double lung transplant. My family and I have been on a mission to try our best to help anyone else in Sid’s shoes. It has been a privilege to be able to help so many lung transplant patients over the last five years with your undying support.
Since we can’t have a party and thank you in person due to COVID-19, here’s a video of me expressing my gratitude:
As the entire world continues to stay locked down during the COVID-19 epidemic, we want to bring attention to how this situation affects lung transplant patients and medical staff. As you may or may not know, transplant patients have a compromised immune system. This means that their body has a much more difficult time fighting illness. The Coronavirus can be fatal to people with compromised immune systems. People with compromised immune systems don’t necessarily look “sick” or “weak” so it is important for all of us to be careful who we are around during this time.
The following people have a weak or compromised immune system:
These are the people that have the highest risk of dying from COVID-19. You most likely know someone who is immunocompromised. This is why social distancing and self-quarantine is so important. You might be healthy and able to fight off the Coronavirus, however, your family and friends may not be able to.
We also want to bring attention to all the healthcare workers like doctors, nurses, techs, administrative staff, and all others who are on the frontlines of this epidemic. They are putting their lives at risk to help save ours. Hospitals are at capacity with people fighting COVID-19. Please help make their job easier by keeping yourself as safe as possible in this epidemic.
Everyone does not have the privilege of staying home, especially those with essential jobs like healthcare workers, delivery people, and some retail workers. For those that do have the choice, please stay home.
Although there is no need to panic and buy things like toilet paper in bulk, it is important to stay as vigilant as possible. We can all play a part in slowing down this epidemic and saving the lives of those people that are most vulnerable by following the guidelines of the World Health Organization. Make sure to wash your hands as often as possible and avoid crowded places.
Also, consider checking up on the people in your life that might have a compromised immune system to make sure they are safe and have everything they need.
We hope all of our family, friends, donors, supporters, and lung transplant patients stay safe during these difficult times. If you have the means, please donate to the WHO and other accredited organizations that are helping us fight this.
Thank you to everyone who helped us raise funds for Nicole Fournier!
Because of your donations we were able to raise $300 to help Nicole begin her new life.
How Will Your Donations Help Nicole?
Nicole has had to relocate due to her lung transplant surgery. These funds will help her with living costs and/or medical bills related to her transplant.
Lung transplants have the lowest survival rate of all organ transplants, so your donations are helping Nicole beat the odds and live a longer healthier life with her new lungs.
To read more about Nicole’s journey click here.
If you haven't donated to Nicole’s fundraiser yet, it's not too late!
"Most people know I have CF [Cystic Fibrosis] but no one knows what I really go through." - Nicole
Nicole is a 41 year old woman from Sacremento, CA who has lived with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) her whole life. She is a wife and a mother of two. Her hobbies include spending time with family, taking her dogs out for a walk, shopping, taking road trips, and watching T.V. Unfortunately, she is unable to do any of these things right now because she is in the hospital.
Nicole was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic lung disease with no cure.
"She quickly learned to push on, regardless of how bad she was feeling. She also learned to accept this constant illness as 'normal.'”
- Nicole’s mother.
Although she was often sick as a child, she wasn’t diagnosed with CF until she was 19 years old and pregnant. Not only did she have a scary pregnancy, but she also found out that CF was a lifelong disease without a cure. In fact, today, the average lifespan of a person with CF is into the late 30s to early 40s.
Although Nicole had already begun the process of being evaluated for a lung transplant due to her declining health, on December 27th, she had to be rushed to the hospital because of a severe lung infection. Her condition was so unstable, that on January 7th, doctors told Nicole’s family that she only had a few hours to live and they should say their goodbyes. Her family was not ready to give up, however. Nicole was moved from UC Davis hospital to UCSF. On January 12th the doctors here were able to stabilize her condition and put her on the list to receive a double lung transplant. Five days later on January 17th, Nicole’s doctors found a donor and performed her double lung transplant. She was lucky to be able to find a donor so quickly.
Nicole can now breathe on her own. She is recovering from her lung transplant surgery in the hospital. Although she will no longer need to carry around oxygen with her wherever she goes, living with a lung transplant is similar to living with CF in that she will still need to take around 50 pills a day to keep her body from rejecting her new lungs and to keep all her other organs running smoothly. Lung transplants also have the lowest survival rate of all organ transplants. Only about 50% of patients live five years past the transplant. Nicole has traded one disease for another. She still has a difficult road to recovery ahead of her.
Nicole and her husband Bobby have been unable to work because of her hospitalization. They will now need to move to San Francisco and live within a 30 minute drive of the hospital for at least the next 3 months so she can have regular check ups. This means that in addition to medical bills, Nicole will have new living costs which include housing, food, gas, and more while in San Francisco.
Despite the challenges, Nicole is hopeful and grateful.
“I’m so grateful for my donor and this second chance at life.” - Nicole
Once Nicole has recovered and is able to live a more normal life, she plans to go hiking, taking walks on the beach, climb stairs, walk in the mall, go to the grocery store, and just enjoy life.
“She loves her life and is grateful for each new day. Not only is she beautiful, she has a playful spirit, and a strong will. She has a proven strength and determination that not many people possess. In a word, she is a fighter. She loves her life, her two boys, her friends, family, pets, and her best friend/love of her life and constant companion Bobby.” - Nicole’s mother
Her advice for others with CF or other lung disease who might need a lung transplant one day is:
“Fundraise as much as possible even if you have not been listed yet. Reach out to places for help and donations. It’s very hard to heal when you are so worried about how you are going to pay for everything.”
Living with CF or any other lung disease without a cure can be scary. Getting a double lung transplant can be scary too. Nicole is an inspiration for many with how hard she has been fighting to live through her disease and now after her lung transplant. Please help Nicole and her family continue to fight by donating today.
You donation will be used for medical bills, relocation costs, living expenses, transportation expenses, and any other expenses that might arise while Nicole is recovering.
“My mother is not a person to ever ask for help... Anything will help, I just want my mom to enjoy life and have a second chance without the worry of bills and expenses.”
- Nicole’s son, Austin.
To help Nicole beat the odds and live a long and healthy life after her transplant, please donate here: