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Benefit organized for woman who received double lung transplant

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - An Endicott woman is breathing new life after receiving a double lung transplant late last year.

Lisa Iannone of Endicott has been battling Pulmonary Hypertension, which is high blood pressure to the lungs, attacking blood vessels and preventing them from transporting blood throughout the body.

After being hospitalized in New York City, Iannone was airlifted in August to a hospital in Philadelphia to receive a double lung transplant.

She had the operation in November and she's recovering well, but her medical costs have exceeded hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Her best friends, Carrie Ruckhardt and Stephanie Malmberg have organized a benefit called "Breathe."

They say Iannone is strong-willed, determined and has a new outlook on life.

"It's a miracle.  To see your best friend struggle for breath for years, then watching her being able to walk, run, use stairs and other things that we take for granted every day, without losing her breath, takes your breath away in a good way," said Ruckhardt.

Malmberg said, "Literally right before she was hospitalized, we went to a festival, which I thought was crazy and I didn't think we should do it.  She's determined and she insisted on going and now we have many more concerts to look forward to."

The benefit takes place on June 3, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sons of Italy in Endicott.

It includes live music, raffles, a kid's zone, and information on how to become an organ donor.

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