Friday, February 22, 2013

Loyola Lung Transplant Nurse to Hustle up the Hancock with Husband who Suffers from Lung Disease

Nurse can breathe easier knowing donations will help lung care

MAYWOOD, Ill. - While climbing 94 flights of stairs would make most breathless, this trek will leave Jennifer Johnson, a Loyola University Health System lung transplant nurse, breathing easier knowing she is raising money for a good cause.

Johnson will join more than 4,000 people for the Hustle up the Hancock this Sunday, Feb. 24. She will take to the stairs at 9:15 a.m. to raise money for lung disease research, advocacy and education. Johnson expects to finish in 30 minutes. This will be her seventh climb to the top of the John Hancock Center.

“This climb will be an opportunity to push myself just like my patients push themselves every day,” Johnson said. “They will be my inspiration, as I scale the steps and become winded."

Johnson is part of the largest and most successful lung transplant program in Illinois. She plays an integral role in obtaining donated lungs for patients who need a transplant to survive.

This year’s climb hits a little closer to home for Johnson. In 2010, her husband, Mike, 39, was diagnosed with cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, a rare lung disorder. Mike’s lungs function at 60 percent, which leaves him winded after simple tasks such as picking up their 2-year-old son Cooper. Despite this, he is not letting the disease get in his way. Mike will join his wife on the 1,632-step climb for the first time since his diagnosis. The pair has been training together for the last several weeks and plans to cross the finish line hand-in-hand.

“I never imagined that my experience with lung disease would affect my own family,” Johnson said. “Climbing to the top with my husband is the least I can do to support him and my patients who struggle with every breath."

The Johnsons will be surrounded by family and colleagues who are members of Jennifer’s team, Loyola’s Lung Angels. The group has raised more than $5,000 for the Respiratory Health Association’s lung disease research and programs.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.