Christena's Story: Young Ky. woman awaits 2nd double lung transplant

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by Melissa Swan

Kentucky Young Woman awaits 2nd Double Lung Transplant

Posted on September 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 8 at 9:49 PM

(WHAS11.com) --- When we first told you about Christena, a teenager suffering from cystic fibrosis, she was tethered to oxygen, she was pale and weak.  Then, just a few weeks after her double lung transplant in 2005, 16 year old Christena Gabehart was basking in sunshine,  She was exercising her newly transplanted lungs.   Christena was enjoying her life at her Shepherdsville home.  She was loving her room she shared with a collection of beautiful butterfly images.

Click here to read more about her journey.

   After Christena got her good lungs she was on a roll.   She got her driver's license.  She gradated from high school and attended college at Western Kentucky University.    And Christena married the love of her life.   Eventhough, Christena and Kevin Jones grew up just a couple of hours away from one another they met at the transplant center in St. Louis.  Kevin is a double lung and liver transplant recipient.   Since their wedding they've been living happily in central Kentucky with two little lap dogs and a big dog named Gabe.

     But Tuesday, Christena was taken to Norton Healthcare and placed in ICU. She's been too sick and too out-of-breath to do much more than whisper and sit with family members.  But while Christena is weak her army of supporters is strong.   In Mt. Washington the vacant Alex Montgomery car dealership has been turned over to Christena's Army.

    Christena's father George Gabehart says, "She's one of the most inspirational kids I've every seen.  I'm dad and I'm biased but she has touched so many people and when everyone found out that she was going to have another lung transplant it was 'What can we do'.

    Saturday, September 8th from 2-10p.m hundreds of people will be raising thousands of dollars to get Christena moved to St. Louis to prepare for the transplant and the necessary rehabilitation after the surgery.   She needs the funds for rent and food and transportation.

   Thursday night I spent some time in the ICU with Christena.  We talked about the fundraising event and all she's done since the first transplant.    Christena and her family have lived their medical challenges with one quote in mind.  "Life if not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

   Christena has known moments that took her breath away.   She and her Army are fighting for more.

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