Parents Give Turkish Girl With Cystic Fibrosis Part Of Their Lungs For Rare Live Donor Transplant

Thanks To Mom, Dad And Soccer Fans, Turkish Schoolgirl Is Given A New Breath Of Life

This month, the parents of a chronically ill schoolgirl each gave part of their lungs for a live donor transplant to save their daughter's life, the Austrian Times reports.

Fifteen-year-old Tuğçe Kubra Basar from Istanbul, Turkey, has cystic fibrosis -- a life-threatening disease that causes an inflammation of the airways. According to the Daily Mail, her lungs stopped functioning properly last year and she has been hospitalized ever since.

After almost a year, Basar was finally given a new lease of life when Austrian surgeons said tissue matches with both her parents made a live donor lung transplant possible.

Two weeks ago, surgeons at the AKH Hospital in Vienna, Austria, performed a very rare three-way operation in which part of Basar's father's right lung and part of her mother's left lung were taken to form one healthy lung for the teenager.

According to the Daily Mail, the surgery has only been performed four times at the Viennese hospital over the past 20 years.

Before the operation, the brave young girl said that she was not afraid.

"I have had so many challenges in life to face," she said. "I know I will beat this. I will survive the operation and my life will be so much better when it is done and I have recovered."

The operation, which cost over $270,000, was largely paid for by the Turkish government. However, almost $80,000 of it was raised by fellow fans of Basar's favorite soccer club -- Besiktas Istanbul. After hearing Basar's story on the news, the fan club started a fundraising effort for her through Kimse Yok Mu -- a Turkish NGO -- and hundreds of soccer fans have pitched in so that the young girl will be able to live a fuller life, reports the Turkish website e-haber Ajansi.

"She was a piece of us and we gave her a little more," her father, Tarcan Basar, told e-haber Ajansi. "I am thankful to God that my baby can now breathe clean air and is experiencing how to breathe and live for the first time in her life."

Until the late 1980s, most cystic fibrosis patients did not live past their 20s and led impossibly difficult lives. Now, thanks to recent medical advances -- including live transplants like the one Basar underwent -- patients are living better and longer.

Basar and her parents have since recovered from the nine-hour surgery. The teenager, who looks cheerful in this video taken post-surgery, has already begun walking and is expected to return to her home in Istanbul in May, the Daily Mail reports.

She said that the first thing she wants to do when she gets better is to watch a live Besiktas Istanbul soccer game.

Translation Credit: Serkan Colak

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