Vallejo fundraiser to help local teen, other families

Vallejo Times Herald | Irma Widjojo

Justin Fowler, 19, shows the lung tattoo he got that commemorates the first day he breathed on his own with newly transplanted lungs. He is now experiencing rejection symptoms, and his mother, Tina, in the background, is organizing a fundraiser to help offset treatment costs. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD

Just being able to walk more than 20 feet is a victory in Justin Fowler’s book.

Thanks to a new set of lungs that he received about two years ago, the 19-year-old Vallejo man is now able to run.

“The biggest difference is that now I plan more than a week ahead,” Fowler said. “Before the transplant it was really day to day.”

However, the double lung transplant that saved his life at that time also left the family with an enormous bill and other medical issues to navigate.

In conjunction with a nonprofit organization, Children’s Organ Transplant Association, or COTA, Fowler and his family are hosting a fundraiser event Saturday to help the Fowlers with treatment-related expenses and, possibly, other children who need transplants. Continue reading