Chili cook-off planned to support woman facing double lung transplant

Dina Lynch is shown before losing more than 100 pounds after being connected to feeding tubes. A chili cook-off will be held on Nov. 9 to raise money to offset costs of her double lung transplant.

La PORTE — The family of a La Porte woman facing a double lung transplant is organizing a chili cook-off to raise money for her operation.

The La Porte American Legion at 228 E. Lincoln Way will host the fundraiser for Dina Lynch’s double lung transplant on Friday, Nov. 9.

Lynch has been a La Porte County resident for almost two decades and is hoping to raise money for her upcoming procedure. She has been battling pulmonary fibrosis since being diagnosed in 2014. The disease is caused by scarring on the lungs, and inhibits lung function.

Lynch’s fight with pulmonary fibrosis has been harrowing. After years of having her symptoms shrugged off as asthma, her condition worsened. When her breathing trouble left her barely able to walk short distances, she was sent to the emergency room to get some real answers.

“Just walking from the bedroom to the hallway had me in tears,” Lynch said.

A nurse practitioner from La Porte Hospital recommended her for a CAT Scan that revealed severe scarring on her lungs.

She was diagnosed with desquamative interstitial pneumonia, a form of pulmonary fibrosis. The DIP was so intense she had to be put on oxygen and have three different feeding tubes put in before her condition showed improvement.

This led to extreme weight loss for Lynch, who said she lost more than 100 pounds over a six-month period. The weight loss has increased her likelihood of long term success and made her a better candidate for a double lung transplant.

Lynch has been getting treatment in Indianapolis. Doctors told her that her lungs would not stop scarring, and that a double transplant is her best option.

The operations are extremely expensive, and will require extended hospital stays. Lynch can expect to spend about four to six weeks in a hospital bed after the procedure.

Lynch’s sisters, Gina and Tina, along with her fiance, Micah, came up with the idea to hold the Chili Cook-Off to help raise money for medical expenses.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. All are welcome to come out and enjoy the region’s best chili recipes.

Attendees are encouraged to make and bring their best chili recipes for judging. Prizes will be given to first-, second- and third-place chili makers.

There will be a $10 entry fee, and a $5 tasting fee. The $5 fee will get you a bowl of chili of your choosing. Additional bowls will be $3. All proceeds will be going to Dina’s double lung transplant. She hopes the event can bring in enough money to put a dent in her medical expenses.

The event will also include a game of Tupperware Bingo, and feature raffles for door prizes. Those intending to enter their chili for judging can contact Dina at 219-324-3660 or dinaslung transplantfunraiser@gmail.com.

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