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KXLY update: Teen gets life-saving double lung transplant

DEER LAKE, Wash. - It was the call she'd been waiting for. 

This week, Leah Russell found out doctors had a match for her double lung transplant. 

When she was just a freshman in high school, doctors diagnosed Leah Russell with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Now, she's a senior, and without the transplant, doctors estimated she had a year left to live. The high blood pressure in her lungs was damaging those organs and making her heart work extra hard. 

Her grandmother told KXLY that Russell is out of surgery now and recovering at the University of Washington Medical Center, in Seattle. She's still on life support because her heart is not yet working well with the new lungs, but her family is optimistic. 

They'll spend the next few months in Seattle, until Russell is well enough to come back home to Deer Lake. 

The Russell family wanted to share their gratitude for the staff at UW and at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. They also said they're so thankful for the support from community members who donated to their online fundraiser and to those who kept Leah in their thoughts and prayers. 


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