Toowoomba mum flying to US to cure 'uncureable' lungs
IT was only four years ago that April Hitzke was diagnosed with a deadly lung disease; now she can't remember what it was like to breathe freely.
Her situation is now so dire she is prepared to fly to Florida for an experimental treatment.
Mrs Hitzke was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease after contracting the flu twice in a short period of time.
The disease causes scarring on the lungs which makes it difficult to breathe and once scarring occurs, it's generally irreversible.
With her lung capacity at 40 per cent Mrs Hitzke has shocking coughing spells daily, some which make her vomit.
She can't even pick up her daughter any more as she becomes breathless.
She has been told the disease is life-threatening and the only cure is to receive a lung transplant.
Mrs Hitzke said she was concerned about receiving a lung transplant so when a friend suggested an alternative treatment she looked into it.
Now, after research and consultation with Dr Gordon Crozier in the United States, Mrs Hitzke is heading to Florida with her husband Nathan and daughter Chloe.
She said the 12-week treatment involved inhaling stem cells to help heal the scarring on her lungs.
Dr Crozier's treatment is still experimental and uses preservative free IV injectables that are naturally derived from the person's body as well as cellular therapies.
The main objective through using his IV therapy is to rid the body of toxins and optimise the immune response through using the proper fats, amino acids, glutathione and other IV injectables.
Mrs Hitzke said she was happy to be trying an alternative treatment.
"The treatment isn't available in Australia. It is all experimental but I'll feel much better trying this first rather than jumping straight into a lung transplant," she said.
"The idea is that the treatment will reverse the scarring on my lungs. It would be amazing if it worked and Dr Crozier has tested it on other people before and it has been successful.
"I at least need to try."
Her husband is fully supportive of the decision to try treatment before a huge operation.
"Having a lung transplant is a massive ordeal and is based on someone else's tragedy," he said.
A friend of the couple started a GoFundMe page last month and it has already raised more than $10,000 to cover the cost of treatment and costs to live and fly to the United States.
The goal is to raise $60,000.
Mr Hitzke said he and his wife couldn't explain how grateful they were for the community's support.
"We are overwhelmed with how many people have reached out to us," he said.
"The Toowoomba community is so kind and when they see someone in need they band together to help."
A fundraiser will be held tonight from 4pm to 9pm at Bon Amici Wine Bar and Cafe.
Entry is $15 and attendees will get a free drink upon arrival.
There will be live music and multi-draw raffles, with funds going towards the Hitzke family.
Another benefit concert will be held on Saturday, July 29 from 7pm to 9pm at the Rangeville Community Church, with an entry fee of $10.
To donate visit gofundme.com and search April Hitzke.