Fundraiser to benefit China Grove woman awaiting lung transplant

  • Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:15 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:16 a.m.
Pat Register
Pat Register

Pat Register went from being a fit retiree who enjoyed walking and exercising to being pushed around in a wheelchair within a matter of months.

It was June 2011 when the 65-year-old China Grove woman suddenly passed out one day.

“I went from being a healthy person to a totally sick person,” she said. “I was handicapped really.”

At first, doctors assumed she had pneumonia, but after three more trips to the emergency room and two biopsies, Register was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

“It’s a disease that makes your lung shrink up,” she said. “There’s no cure and they don’t know how you get it, it’s just a rare thing.”

After lugging around an oxygen tank for a year and a half, Register’s doctor recommended she begin rehabilitation at Duke University Medical Center.

A couple months ago, Register and her husband, Fred, rented an apartment in Durham so she could begin rehab.

“Rehab really, really has saved my life,” she said. “It’s helped me more than anything.

“I really didn’t think I had a chance, I thought I was going to die.”

Just last week, Register was added to the transplant list to receive a new pair of lungs.

“Right now, I’m not able to do anything really,” she said. “I feel like I have a real good chance at having a life again.”

Tammy Burke, Register’s niece, has organized a fundraiser through the National Foundation of Transplants to help offset some of the family’s medical expenses.

“All the money will go through the foundation and they distribute it as she needs it,” Burke said.

Burke said she wanted to do something to help out her aunt, who she’s been close to her entire life.

“My aunt Trishy is a very compassionate person,” she said. “She’s always been so happy-go-lucky and she’s been healthy all her life until this point.”

The barbecue fundraiser will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Charity Baptist Church, 2420 Brantley Road in Kannapolis.

Plates are $8 and include barbecue, slaw, baked beans, dessert and a drink. All proceeds will go to Register.

The barbecue will come from Porky’s II in Landis. The restaurant is owned by Register’s son, Ricky Register.

Orders for delivery can be placed by calling 980-234-2990 or 704-239-1470.

Register said she’s blown away by the amount of support she’s received.

“My friends and family have been so great for standing by me,” she said. “It’s so wonderful they want to help me.”

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