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Northwestern Student Seeks Help For Lifesaving Transplant

19-year-old Northwestern University sophomore Josie Nordman needs a lung transplant to survive, but her family can’t foot the $75,000 bill on their own.

Northwestern University sophomore Josie Nordman was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a chronic and frequently fatal lung disease, when she was only four years old.

Now, at 19, the Homewood native is left with only 22 percent of her lung function. She was added to the lung transplant list on Dec. 12.

A transplant is her only hope of surviving.

Unfortunately, that hope comes with a hefty $750,000 price tag, according to her mother, Nicolle Nordman. While the family's insurance will cover the bulk of that amount, the Nordman family will be left with a bill of $50,000 to $75,000, much more than they can afford.

“We are struggling to pay our monthly bills due to so many medical costs that we have no idea how to come up with this kind of money,” Nicolle Nordman wrote on Facebook. “We need a miracle …”

In order to raise the money, Nicolle Nordman turned to Facebook for help. A former teacher of Josie’s took it a step further and set up a website where anybody can donate money towards the cause. They’ve already collected $1,300 from friends and strangers alike, but much more is needed. No donation is too small.

"I am so touched at the kindness of strangers and the amount of support we are receiving for Josie," Nicolle Nordman says. "We are grateful for all your help and support and it will all be used for Josie's transplant and recovery."

According to Nicolle Nordman, the average wait time for a lung transpant is six months. Because Josie is unusually small, she will most likely need lungs from a child--meaning the wait time could be even longer. 

Anyone interested in donating money towards Josie’s lung transplant can do so on this website.

Nicolle Lynn Nordman January 16, 2013 at 07:22 PM
This is Josie's mother Nicolle. I want to thank the patch for covering this story. I am so touched at the kindness of strangers and the amount of support we are receiving for Josie. I do want clear something up. The bulk of Josie's $750,000 transplant IS covered by our insurance. We are left with a balance that will need to be paid. Josie WILL get her transplant as soon as lungs become available. They will not hold her transplant because we do not have our part. We will have to pay whatever we owe over time until it is paid off. There will also be costs incurred related to transplant, post transplant and for the rest of her life that the insurance will not cover. We have been battling with our current insurance company over medications she needs for years that they do not want to pay for (stay away from United Healthcare if you can) and I am sure we will continue to do so. We are grateful for all your help and support and it will all be used for Josie's transplant and recovery but please DO NOT feel that Josie will not get her transplant because we are "uninsured". We do have insurance, but as most of you know insurance does not cover everything. Please also take the time to register to be an organ donor at Gift of Hope. There are thousands of people waiting for organs who will never get them because there are not enough donors.
Nicolle Lynn Nordman January 16, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Please also note, Josie has been on the lung transplant list since 12-12-12 (hopefully a lucky number, not only a week as printed above. Average wait time for lungs is 6 months but because Josie is so small, her wait time could be longer. She need lungs from someone under 5'2", most likely a child.
Joanne Schum January 17, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Wishing the best for Josie. I received a double lung transplant 15 years ago, due to CF. The comment about her needing a donor under 5'2" - some lung transplant centers do "trim" lungs down to fit a person. My donor lungs came from someone much larger, and the surgeon trimmed them to fit me.
John C Thomson January 17, 2013 at 03:27 PM
So glad I saw this today Nicolle, I have been re-sharing your story on FB. I live in Evanston but I am from Hazel Crest. (I know you would know where that is) I have also worked for Northwestern. I have friends who also are acquainted with your families situation. When I find that link again I would like to contribute. God be with you.
Nicolle Lynn Nordman January 17, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Joanne, I would love to hear more about your story! Did you have your transplant at Loyola? How are you doing? Josie is only 4'9" so there will already be some trimming and U of C is very conservative about how much trimming they are willing to do. They really want as close to a perfect fit as possible. Please contact me at Joenic30@aol.com I would love to hear more!!
Nicolle Lynn Nordman January 17, 2013 at 05:32 PM
John, here is the direct link to the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheJosieNordmanLungTransplantFund and the direct link to the fund set up by Josie's friend is http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/312551/x/2117935?show_todos=true Please friend me on FB. I would be thrilled to talk more with you. And of course I know where Hazel Crest is :) All of my children were born at South Suburban Hospital in the town of Hazel Crest!!!
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) January 17, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Nicolle, thanks for commenting. We've updated the story to reflect the information you shared. We wish you the best of luck with raising the money and with Josie's future good health.
Beverly Loevy January 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM
My heart felt feelings are with you and your family, I wish the best of everything for Josie. Keep the faith she will get her lung.
Michelle January 18, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Peace and Love! You are in thoughts and hearts!
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) January 19, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Cheesie's is holding a fundraiser for Josie on Monday, Jan. 21. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/318235858293914/
Joanne Schum February 03, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Nicole, I just asked to be friends at Facebook. Also you might want to join one of the groups at FB that I am Admin of: Another Lung Transplant Support group you may want to join. Request to join, and I will add you! Lung Transplantation: Taking Flight with New Life Support Group http://www.facebook.com/groups/240751732632213/editgroup.php?gid=240751732632213&sk=information You may want to ask Loyola if they do "Living Lobar Lung Transplant". that is when 2 living people donate one lobe of their lung, and they become the lungs for someone small. I got my lungs at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997. I also sent you an email with more info. email me anytime: luckylungsforjo@aol.com

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