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Help Gary Tole Beat Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

$29,897raised of $50,000 goal

Organizer: Margaret McKoin Beneficiary: Gary Tole

Gary Tole & his family are struggling with the effects of his IPF. He is in the #1 POSITION for a lung transplant at UT Southwestern Dallas. Please help Gary & his family during this time of need.

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Fundraiser Details

Gary Tole is 60 years old and has been happily married to Cathy Tole since 1978.  They have six beautiful children: Brittany, Michael, Janelle, David, Steven and Kelsey.

Gary was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in September 2012. Not a stranger to IPF, Gary’s mother died from this disease in 1987 when she was 58 and his aunt was recently diagnosed with IPF as well. Gary had been feeling changes in his health for more than a year leading up to that day he received the devastating news that he did, in fact, have the disease.

There is some good news for Gary and there is light at the end of tunnel. That would be receiving a double lung transplant before time runs out. Other than his lungs, Gary’s health is completely normal and robust as verified by two weeks of intensive medical testing. Given his excellent health, age and state of IPF disease, he is actually listed in the number one position for his blood type and body size at U.T. Southwestern Dallas for a lung transplant should a donor be found, and he is also ranked high on the UNOS regional list as well. So Gary and his family are holding on with plenty of hope.

Gary is a fighter and a believer in Christ, so his friends and family know he will make it through this extreme trial. His Christian faith is evident in his entire family. He is extremely hard working, strong, loyal, kind, generous, caring, loving, and just a pure joy to be around. Anyone who knows him has the most wonderful things to say about him.

Given the struggles and hardship that come with being unable to work due to being afflicted with IPF, Gary needs some financial assistance. Here is a man who has had a job since he was 11 years old and now finds himself physically unable to work. His wife Cathy is a fighter too, and has been doing her best to provide for the family. She works, cares for Gary and the four younger kids. His 22-year old son Steven graciously sacrificed his immediate future and dedicated himself to stay at home full time to take care of his dad. The other children who live at home all work, go to school and do their part to contribute financially.  However, with Gary unable to work and even with everyone doing their part, the family is still struggling to make ends meet. Between the thousands of dollars for Gary’s insurance, medicine, house payments, car payments, utilities, food, and house maintenance the family is rapidly falling behind.  

This family needs your help now! Anything you can do to assist Gary and his family would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about Gary, his condition and his great need. May God bless you!

***Donations may also be mailed to:
The Tole Family
P.O. Box 261986
Plano, TX 75026

For inquiries please contact:

About IPF

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible, unpredictable and ultimately fatal disease characterized by scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs. IPF inevitably leads to worsening lung function and exercise tolerance, and shortness of breath. Every IPF patient follows a different and unpredictable course and it is not possible to predict if a patient will progress slowly or rapidly, or when the rate of decline may change. Periods of transient clinical stability in IPF, should they occur, inevitably give way to continued disease progression. The median survival time from diagnosis is two to five years, with a five-year survival rate of approximately 20-40 percent, which makes IPF more rapidly lethal than many cancers, including breast, ovarian and colorectal. IPF typically occurs in patients over the age of 50, and is more common in men than in women. Yet it is not well known and more cases are being reported around the world each year.

While this is occurring someone with IPF can no longer breathe on there own and they require supplemental oxygen 24-hours a day. The first six months after Gary’s diagnosis were not too bad but soon after became increasingly worse and he has been on supplemental oxygen for over a year now. Gary’s doctor believes that being a singer and member of choirs since high school and at Prestonwood Baptist Church the past 15 years has created extremely efficient breathing muscles. This has allowed him to do far more than most with this level of lung damage. Singing praise and worship music is something Gary truly misses and hopes to be able to do once again in the future.

Since IPF is a day-to-day illness with no retreat and no improvements, it can become life threatening in a very short period of time. That unfortunately happened to Gary in December 2013. He is now in end-stage lung disease and lost the majority of his remaining lung vital capacity. For the most part, Gary is bedridden because when your lungs are this damaged it becomes very difficult to breathe let alone move around. Simple things that at times we all take for granted can leave him completely breathless and gasping for air. The only hope now is that a call comes soon for his lung transplant.

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by Margaret McKoin
Hey everyone!
  Things have taken a turn, and not for the best, but we are staying super positive and confident Gary will pull through this. A few weeks ago Gary was admitted into the hospital for breathing issues and fever. He didn't have any viruses but was kept several days on IV antibiotics and steroids.

Gary was home for about a week when we rushed into the ER due to difficulties of keeping his oxygen levels up.This was on Thursday night 3/6 he was placed into ICU. Each day has become more difficult keeping his oxygen levels up and recovering from dangerous declines in oxygen levels.

Sadly, yesterday 3-13, Gary was placed on a ventilator. Our son, Steven, was the only family member here at the time. We wanted to all be there when it happened and have Gary hold on just a little longer, but he knew it needed to happen and he gave the OK to be intubated. After intubation, Gary was running a fever and low blood pressure due to being on sedation meds. A central line was placed in his neck so he could get the proper blood pressure medication to stabilize it. Things were looking good and leveling out.

Last night 3/13 around 3am, we got a call from the pulmonary doctor that we had a potential lung donor, possibly high risk though. Doctors felt confident that these could be the lungs that would save Gary's life. We gave the OK to proceed to see if they were suitable, however the lungs had pneumonia. This was the fourth offer of lungs in 2 days, unfortunately all sets of lungs had pneumonia.

We feel extremely confident Gary will be getting his perfect donor match very soon. Jesus is on our side and He is not finished with Gary. He has been very stable today and doctors feel comfortable with the levels Gary has been maintaining. Thank you all again so very much for the continued love and support you have shown us. We feel truly blessed and will keep you all updated.

God Bless, 
The Tole Family
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by Margaret McKoin

The Auction Event last night was amazing! We felt so blessed to have so many friends come out to show us they care. We were able to raise $6135 to help catch up with medical bills, etc. THANK YOU everyone for your moral, prayerful,and financial support to help our family through this difficult time while Gary waits to get his lung transplant. Each day has it's ups and downs but knowing we have so many people praying and encouraging us gets us through the trials.

We are not out of the woods yet as they say, as Gary has yet to recieve the transplant and will have recovery before we see what God has in store for him post transplant.  The fundraiser is being extended as there are some other ideas others have for some fundraising events to come.

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by Margaret McKoin
It's been a crazy week as Gary was admitted to the hospital and came home last night.
He seems more stable after antibiotic and steroid treatments, although his oxygen needs continue to increase. We are trying to adapt to the changes in managing his condition.

I will post more later as off to the fundraising Auction. If you can join us please come on over!
5800 Bishop Rd. Plano TX. Starts at 5pm. We have some amazing donations to auction off such as Dallas Stars Suite tickets, New Womens Wilson Golf Clubs, Michael Kors tote bag, Restaraunt gift certificates and more!

Tole Family

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by Margaret McKoin
Please continue to pray for Gary and his lungs to stabilize while he is waiting for his lung transplant.  He has been struggling much more in the past week and is having more difficulty getting around.  He has had to miss 3 pulmonary rehab sessions becasue his oxygen levels were too low.

We want to say THANK YOU to everyone fr their prayers, meals, and gifts to help support and sustain our family through these difficult days.  We are touched by the gifts and encouragement by people we don't even know but see a need and are coming forward to help. We can't even begin to express our gratitude. 

Prayers are being answered so PLEASE keep praying for Gary. He needs new lungs very, very soon.
God Bless you all. Cathy

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by Margaret McKoin
VALENTINE'S DAY- a great day to say thank you to all who are praying faithfully for Gary and our family and for all the love and support shown in so many ways. We are so appreciative of the donations to help us through this stressful time of dealing with Gary's illness and keeping up with the financial demands.  We have enjoyed some wonderful meals, groceries and gift cards as well from thoughtful friends, neighbors, and even people we don't know. We are so blessed and humbly say THANK YOU! 

Fox 4 Dallas did a feature story today on our soon to be double transplant family.  Our daughter, Janelle, had cancer twice with the second time requiring a bone marrow transplant in 2001 to save her life and was featured in a story about her transplant at Children's Medical Center Dallas. Her sister Brittany was her donor. Now her Dad is waiting for a lung transplant to save his life from pulminary fibrosis which is robbing him of his ability to utilize oxygen and causing severe scarring in his lungs. 

Thank you to Fox 4's Neeha Curtis for a beautiful job telling the story.  Please check out the link-

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by Margaret McKoin
Fox 4 Dallas is airing a story tonight at 6 about Gary's Lung Transplant and our daughters Bone Marrow Transplant story and how all this has affected our family. Please check it out!  Thank you all for your support.

Gary had an appointment yesterday and his need for oxygen has increased so his placement on transplant list is higher as well. We pray it's any day now!
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