Double lung and heart transplant survivor rides to her own beat, defying all odds

Posted at 5:47 AM, May 13, 2019

Doctors told Camille Frede's family she would only live four years with a rare disease. Now 20 years later, she's defying all odds and training for the World Transplant Games.

Camille Frede, 29, was diagnosed as with pulmonary hypertension (PH) as a child, which is high blood pressure in the lungs. Her heart was working overtime to push enough oxygen and blood throughout the body for nearly 20 years, leaving her blue, short of breath, and ultimately in heart failure.

"Normally, doctors say you should be able to hold your heart in the palm of your hand. They had to use two hands to hold hers after pumping so hard,” said father, Eric Frede.

An avid cyclist, Camille was unable to walk upstairs without losing her breath. Even sitting and standing were tough tasks. She was in and out of the hospital until her late 20s, waiting on a transplant list for a heart and two lungs.

"You can't be too sick, but you can’t be healthy either, and it’s that happy medium, which is something the transplant center has trouble gauging with patients," Camille said.

Nearly 20 years after doctors said she wouldn't survive, her double lung/heart transplant was a success, immediately giving new life to Camille, March 25 marking the first day of the rest of her life.

"My family, friends and support from the community literally got me through the toughest times," Camille said.

Thanks to everyone in Camille's life, she's not only surviving but thriving as she trains for the World Transplant Games in Newcastle, England. "It's basically the Olympics for the transplant world," Camille said.

Ever since the surgery, she's been training for the 10K and 30K cycling events, hoping to win and show the world that nothing is impossible. Camille's sights are set on winning. If she does, she plans on giving her medal to her donor's family.

Camille’s biggest message is to encourage others to help save a life. "Donate your life and organs, recycle. It saves so many people," she said.

Camille's crew is raising funds to help send her to the World Transplant Games and help ease the burden of financial costs associated with her transplant.

You can also follow her adventures on Youtube and Facebook.