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Lisa’s journey for new lungs

Savannah Tidd~ 10/15/2014

PHOENIX – In through the nose and out through the mouth. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

The simple act of breathing is an everyday part of life that people do without thinking, but what if it wasn’t so easy?

For former Anthem resident Lisa Messina, breathing is not as easy as one, two, three. Lisa has dealt with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis, in which thick mucus inhabits the lungs and other parts of the body making her more prone to infections, since she was six months old.

All her life she has had to do breathing treatments and chest physiotherapies in order to break up the mucus and clear her lungs. Her daily schedule revolves around these treatments since they take hours to do, and throughout her life she has learned the value of time.

“I just take it one day at a time, do the things God allows me for that day and pray for another shot at it tomorrow,” said Lisa.  

Even though she has cystic fibrosis, it had not stopped her from doing regular or everyday activities. However, a year ago, Lisa caught a bad case of pneumonia. According to Lisa, this cut her lung functions from 60 percent to 30 percent, crippling her health and ability to do things.

Now, the only treatment option is a lung transplant. Recently, she went to the University of California, San Diego to meet with a transplant team. She is now on a waiting list for a transplant through the University of Colorado hospital in Denver.

“This was a huge hurdle to jump and I feel so much more hopeful knowing I’m in line, so to speak,” said Lisa.

As she awaits good news, she continually copes with the stresses and difficulties this disease has put not only on her, but her husband and two daughters as well.

Her husband Vinnie has had to take on a full-time caregiver role at home including cooking; cleaning; taking care of the girls, Gianna and Isabella; giving Lisa her treatments; and handling any other needs the family has. Despite all of his duties he gladly does anything in his power so that he can have a long happy life with his family.

“I would do it the same again and again with a smile,” said Vinnie. “I just want to grow old with my wife.”

Vinnie is not the only one taking care of the family. Friends, loved ones, and complete strangers have been helping the Messina family through fundraising in order to help pay for the transplant. The fundraiser, Lungs for Lisa, has already collected over $33,000.

In order to donate, go to and follow Lungs for Lisa on Facebook so that she can turn her hopes into reality.

“My hopes for the future are to be able to watch my daughters grow up. I want to be front row at their weddings. And God willing, I want to see my grandchildren be born,” said Lisa.