Woman who sold handmade bracelets to fund double lung transplant raising money for other patients

FOX NEWS | Melinda Carstensen

Maria Gamboa poses with her mother, Magali Itriago, who helped her raise the $250,000 for her life-saving doube lung transplant procedure at the Cleveland Clinic. (Photo courtesy Maria Gamboa)

Mere minutes before Maria Gamboa’s surgeons planned to hook her up to a machine that would have oxygenated her blood and sustained her vital organs, Gamboa received the news: Doctors had identified a donor match to replace her failing lungs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates an average of 79 people receive an organ transplant every day, but Gamboa’s path to this point was more circuitous than that of many patients’.

While battling an incurable disease that progressively scarred and shrunk her lungs, 44-year-old Gamboa flew across the globe in search of a surgeon who would perform the double lung transplant and save her life. And then, when she finally did find a hospital that would treat her— the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio— the Caracas, Venezuela, native needed to find a way to foot the $250,000 operation bill. Continue reading