Never has Carmen Lerma been happier to wake up in a hospital bed. The cords, the bruises, the pain are all signs. Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinShe survived.”It was like a relief, but it was more of a relief when they took the tubes out of my mouth and I was able to take that deep breath by myself,” Lerma said on a virtual call Tuesday. “You know and that was also priceless.”During the call, the beeping sounds of medical equipment could be heard in the background of her hospital room in Madison. There, last week, Lerma became the recipient of two new lungs.Coronavirus took its toll on Lerma’s original pair.Her battle started in July when she spent 45 days on a ventilator in the ICU at Ascension St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee.Lerma described nothing short of a miracle in getting the transplant days after getting on the list.”These doctors gave me life back. The donor family gave me life back so the least I can do is fight.”Lerma is known as a fighter in Milwaukee: fighting for others as a director at United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS).When the community learned what Lerma needed, it fought just as hard, raising more than $30,000 through a GoFundMe fundraiser ahead of her procedure.”I’m grateful for every single thing and every single day that they got up; they didn’t have to do this and they did,” she said. “They got up, they put their days aside and they made it a point to do something for me. Who does that other than friends and family? I am very grateful for that.”Lerma said she wrote a letter to the family of the person whose lungs she now has. She understands the family’s grief and wants the chance to offer comfort with her gratitude.Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISNGet breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Never has Carmen Lerma been happier to wake up in a hospital bed. The cords, the bruises, the pain are all signs.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in Wisconsin

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She survived.

“It was like a relief, but it was more of a relief when they took the tubes out of my mouth and I was able to take that deep breath by myself,” Lerma said on a virtual call Tuesday. “You know and that was also priceless.”

During the call, the beeping sounds of medical equipment could be heard in the background of her hospital room in Madison.

There, last week, Lerma became the recipient of two new lungs.

Coronavirus took its toll on Lerma’s original pair.

Her battle started in July when she spent 45 days on a ventilator in the ICU at Ascension St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee.

Lerma described nothing short of a miracle in getting the transplant days after getting on the list.

“These doctors gave me life back. The donor family gave me life back so the least I can do is fight.”

Lerma is known as a fighter in Milwaukee: fighting for others as a director at United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS).

When the community learned what Lerma needed, it fought just as hard, raising more than $30,000 through a GoFundMe fundraiser ahead of her procedure.

“I’m grateful for every single thing and every single day that they got up; they didn’t have to do this and they did,” she said. “They got up, they put their days aside and they made it a point to do something for me. Who does that other than friends and family? I am very grateful for that.”

Lerma said she wrote a letter to the family of the person whose lungs she now has.

She understands the family’s grief and wants the chance to offer comfort with her gratitude.

Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISN

Get breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.
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