Lungs On The Run

Margaret Lapsanski leads runners in half-marathon to raise funds for NJSOCF

“Lungs on the Run” a big success

On the run

Although the morning of June 3 dawned cool and rainy, the enthusiasm of double lung transplant recipient Margaret Lapsanski and her large group of friends and supporters was not dampened. They set out from the Ocean Promenade in Long Branch, determined to raise funds for the New Jersey State Organization of Cystic Fibrosis.

Margaret dubbed her effort “Lungs on the Run” and collected a total of $8,000 by leading her group of runners and getting sponsors to support her fundraising efforts in the Long Branch Half-Marathon.

Funds raised by the team and its sponsors were donated to NJSOCF, which provided financial and emotional support to Margaret and her family over the years.

“Í have been involved with NJSOCF since 1992, when I was their poster child,” she said. “This race was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience. Finishing that marathon was the best feeling in the world.”

Overcoming challenges
Margaret, now 24, was only three months old when she was diagnosed with CF.

“I was quickly put on a strict regimen of inhaled antibiotics and intense physical therapy that consisted of my parents pounding on my back to shake loose the mucous in my lungs. I was able to experience a rather normal childhood. However, as I grew older I was troubled with recurrent pneumonias and other lung infections that were treated with courses of IV antibiotics, but which still caused permanent and irreversible lung damage,” Margaret said.

By the time Margaret was 20, her lungs were functioning at a mere 20% of normal capacity and she was on oxygen 24/7.

“I was told that without a double lung transplant, my chances for survival were bleak,” she said “In November of 2004 I was blessed with a second chance at life and received two new, healthy donor lungs.” Now, over four years later, Margaret’s new lungs are functioning at 100%.

Margaret came up with the idea of helping to raise money for cystic fibrosis by running in the half-marathon. “What better way to raise funds than to get my friends and supporters to run 13.1 miles with me – a person who once could not walk four feet without a struggle,” she said.

Margaret set about organizing her “Lungs on the Run” effort and received excellent support. She developed sponsor sheets and got the word out to the community. The results were outstanding, with 75 runners joining her fundraising effort, cheered on by hundreds more supporters.

The day of the race, Margaret admitted at the finish line that the last few miles were painful for her but she drew strength from her teammates, including childhood friends and family. The difference in my quality of life before and after the transplant is staggering and the fact that I ran this race proves it. I’m going to keep running and working out. I am very happy that I did this, both for myself and NJSOCF.”