5K Walk/Run a milestone for recipient

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2003

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Managing Editor
There are many things we all take for granted, but none of them more so than the ability to breath.
For the vast majority of us, the process of filling our lungs with oxygen thousands of times a day is the last thing we give any real thought.
It simply happens -- unless there is a problem.
Brewton native Martha Armstrong has had such a problem. For much of her life, she was dogged by the inability to breath easily, and depended on oxygen tanks and other apparatuses to help keep her lungs going.
All that changed 14 weeks ago, when Armstrong received a new lung thanks to transplant surgery at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Medical Center. Armstrong's life has changed drastically for the better -- so much so that she is preparing to walk in the Brewton YMCA's 5K Run/Walk for Health, to be held Saturday, Nov. 1.
The walk will be the most strenuous activity Armstrong has participated in since her surgery on July 23, but she said she is feeling great and up to the challenge.
In fact, since the transplant, Armstrong is feeling better than she has in years. The breathing problems that had plagued her for the past decade or so were never accurately diagnosed until a specialist at UAB determined she had a rare form of hereditary emphysema.
Soon after, she had a life-threatening close-call after contracting pneumonia, and was placed on the waiting list for a transplant.
She was on the list for 15 months before the operation she had been waiting for became a reality.
Now, Armstrong lives in a small town called Slapout, near Montgomery, so that she can be close to her doctors.
But before too long, after she has gotten through her post-surgery check-ups, she will be moving back to Brewton, she said.
Until then, the trip down for the 5K walk will be a welcome visit home.
The 5K Run/Walk for Health and the One Mile Fun Run/Walk will begin at the YMCA at 8:30 a.m. Late registration for the event is at 7:30 a.m.
Sponsors of the event are Smurfit Stone, the Brewton Area YMCA, Pepsi, Food Fair, and D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service.
The event was designed to encourage wellness in the community, within both businesses and families.

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