1/31/03 - Lungs for Life




Lungs for Life
By: Wendy Ray

(Dexter, MO)--Most teenagers' minds usually revolve around school, sports, or other hobbies. All of those things are important to 16-year-old Savannah Snider, but this Dexter teenager has her mind set on something much bigger.  Getting herself healthy for a double lung transplant. Savannah was born with Cystic Fibrosis , a disease that produces a thick mucous in her lungs, eventually deteriorating them. Her only hope left, is a lung transplant. She's on the top of transplant list, now all she can do is wait.

"It's getting evident bad days are outweighing the good," Savannah's mom Sheila Pounds says. Savannah has had a lot of bad days lately. She was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis soon after she was born. It's been a struggle since then, and now Savannah's down to her last hope, a double lung transplant. "I was really scared at first," Savannah says. "I didn't like the idea at all whenever they first brought it up two years ago, but I've grown up a lot since then." Her mom says, "It's really just taking a chance on the right moment. She feels right now it's possible the time is right."
Working on her scrapbook passes time for Savannah. A high school sophomore, she hasn't been at school much lately. She has to get healthy, and put weight on her four foot ten inch frame to get ready for surgery. Right now, she only weighs 65 pounds. "I do a feeding tube at night to get extra calories, but it doesn't always work because I get sick," Savannah says. Savannah goes to school at Dexter High part-time. She's there three hours a day, three days week. Her friends and teachers miss seeing Savannah. They know what she's going through, and want to help anyway they can. Classmates hope a concert this Saturday at the high school will raise money to help pay for Savannah's surgery. "I think it's awesome what they're doing," Savannah says. "I don't know how I will ever repay them. They say we're not feeling sorry for you, we just want to help because we love you." Savannah feels that love everyday, as she hangs on to hope. "We have to have a transplant to give her a chance of a normal life for any length of time," her mom says.

The benefit concert for Savannah will be this Saturday, February first, at 7:30 in the Dexter High School gym. Tickets are five dollars to see Steelhorse, a local band. All the money raised will go to the Lungs for Life fund for Savannah. Savannah's family has insurance, but it doesn't cover everything. The surgery may cost close to $700,000. Savannah's going to St. Louis Monday to be evaluated, and she if her body's ready for the transplant.