St. Joseph's Affiliation

When Laura had surgery in 2003, there was no lung transplant program available in the Phoenix area. She had to travel to Stanford for evaluation, surgery, and rehabilitation and then return frequently for checkups, tests, and the lifelong monitoring that all organ recipients must have.  In addition to those visits to the transplant facility, patients must receive regular adjunct medical support through doctors and hospitals near their homes. The only frustration Laura ever expressed during her many years of illness resulted from the continual challenge of arranging the local support she needed. One can only imagine how much less daunting Laura’s journey might have been had there been a hospital in Phoenix that was able provide the highly specialized and time-sensitive care that all transplant patients require.

St. Joseph Hospital's Norton Thoracic Institute

In 2007 when St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix announced its lung transplant program at the new Center for Thoracic Transplantation (now known as the Norton Thoracic Institute), the Board of Laura’s Foundation recognized it as an opportunity to “pay it forward” for all the blessings, care and love Laura had received. The program offered an ideal match for the stated mission of Laura’s Foundation:  To provide social support and assistance to lung transplant patients and their families.  A new partnership was formed between St. Joseph's and Laura's Foundation. 

Since its inception in 2007, the Institute has performed over 500 successful lung transplants, making it the second lung transplant program in the country.  In 2012, the Institute was chosen as one of only five centers in the United States to pilot use of TransMedic's "Lung in a Box" which keeps donor lungs viable longer, thereby increasing the pool of organs available for transplant.  In June 2013, Estella Ellington became the first recipient of this technology and over the next three years, more than 225 patients at St. Joseph’s benefited from this remarkable new procedure. The device has been such a resounding success that rapid FDA approval is expected, making lungs avavilable to many more prospective transplant recipients.

Supporting St. Joseph's Lung Transplant Program

As the number of available organs and transplants continue to increase, so does the number of patients in need of help at a time when they are least able to help themselves. The Institute's staff identifies unmet needs which may include enhancements to the program or direct support of patient families whose lives and livelihoods are disrupted for months, even years. Since 2009, Laura's Foundation has donated over $185,000 to St. Joseph Hospital’s Foundation to help lung transplant patients at the Norton Thoracic Institute.  We thank all the friends of Laura’s Foundation who have made this possible.