One woman is organizing a shoe drive to raise money for Aimee Driscoll of Durham, who underwent her second double lung transplant in five years, making her the seventh person to do so. Photo courtesy of Aimee Driscoll 

DURHAM — After enduring a double lung transplant, her second in five years, Aimee Driscoll now faces hefty medical expenses, so a friend organized a shoe drive to help.

Pat Provost, Driscoll’s family friend and organizer of the fundraiser, said she hopes to gather 10 bags of new and gently used shoes, each containing 25 pairs worth about $1,000. The shoes will then be picked up by Funds2Orgs, a company that works with people in developing countries who sell the shoes to grow and maintain small businesses.

“We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like to donate to us,” said Provost. “By doing so, we raise money for the Second Chances Foundation, and we have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities.”

Driscoll’s family began the Second Chances Foundation to help cover her medical expenses, which includes the two transplants, daily medication and periodic testing.

“You’re not eligible for the transplant if you’re not doing active fundraising,” said Carole Waite, Driscoll’s mother. “Fundraising is a necessary thing … there are a lot of ongoing costs.”

In 2014, Driscoll’s lungs stopped working due to complications from cystic fibrosis. A helicopter brought her to Duke Medical Hospital in North Carolina where she received her first double lung transplant. After four months of recovery, Driscoll returned to Maine. But four years later her body started to reject the transplant and it became clear she needed a second.

In February 2019, she returned to North Carolina and became the seventh person to successfully receive a second double lung transplant. Driscoll decided to relocate to North Carolina to be close to medical care and be with her family.

“I knew going into my second transplant if there were going to be complications I wanted to be close to my doctors,” said Driscoll. “It’s been really helpful being here where I can be with my family, too.”

While the second transplant was a success, Driscoll undergoes testing every three months to ensure her body isn’t rejecting the transplant as well as monitor for certain diseases she’s more susceptible to.

“Right now she’s still recovering,” said Waite. “It takes about a year to recover from the transplant, but we hope she’ll remain healthy and strong.”

On average, lung transplants have a 50% success rate after five years, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

To contribute to the fundraiser, new and gently used shoes can be dropped off at the Get and Go on Royalsborough Road in Durham or the YWCA on East Avenue in Lewiston. The fundraiser runs through Feb. 16.

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