Community fundraiser brings woman closer to lung transplant goal
MOUNT HEALTHY, Ohio (WXIX) - A benefit was held Sunday on behalf of a Forest Park woman who is in need of a double lung transplant after being diagnosed with a rare, incurable lung disease.
Friends, family and supporters gathered at Friends Bar and Grill in Mount Healthy to support and raise funds for La’Ticia Copeland, who was diagnosed with Interstitial lung disease in September 2021.
Copeland shared exclusively with FOX19 about how the diagnosis raised questions within herself.
“I’m like, why? I don’t smoke - why me? I have never drank in my life, but I have this rare lung disease,” Copeland said.
According to the American Lung Association, the disease can affect anyone, including children. Genetics and hereditary health issues are also factors.
Copeland’s family and friends described her as an upbeat spirit until her health took a turn for the worst.
“When she was first diagnosed, I think we all lost our breath,” said Copeland’s best friend, Pamela Williams.
“I said to her, ‘You seem short of breath - what’s going on?’ She’s like, ‘Nothing...I’m OK.’”
Unusual symptoms such as coughing up blood and being unable to breathe alerted Copeland to seek medical attention.
Copeland says she takes several medications and carries around an oxygen tank, which forced her to stop working as the owner of her soul food restaurant, The Kitchen.
Fortunately for Copeland, she says her support system is stronger than ever.
Through a friend, she met a man who reached out to help because he also had the same disease and had a lung transplant.
“‘It’s a rare disease, so when she told me about it, I was amazed someone else had it because I never heard of it before me - so I jumped on board instantly because I was in the same situation where I had to have a benefit, said Damion Freeman. “I had to help....it’s just a necessity. God made me do it.”
Freeman called attention to Copeland’s cause on his Facebook page and also was the DJ at the benefit.
“To see the community come back and pour into her and give her what she poured out, that is a blessing - and that’s Cincinnati...that’s what we do in Cincinnati - we support each other,” Williams said.
FOX19 was told that over half of Copeland’s $5,000 goal toward surgery has already been raised. Copeland says that the actual date and surgery depends on when a lung match occurs.
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