Lung patient needs help

Published 9:45 pm Monday, July 16, 2012

Sarah and Stanley Hawk are in need of donations to help pay for his double-lung transplant. They say they have been turned down for disability payments and receive only one retirement check as income.

A Suffolk resident who worked in local shipyards for three decades now is in need of donations to help afford a double-lung transplant.

Stanley Hawk worked at Newport News shipyard for about three years, then transferred to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where he worked for about 28 years.

He first got sick near the end of 2009. He began noticing a shortness of breath and fatigue when he was at work.

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Eventually he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with double pneumonia, at first. When a course of medication didn’t make him well, doctors sent him to Duke University, where he was diagnosed with a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis.

“I got sick from the shipyard,” he claimed.

Hawk has not worked since his original trip to the hospital. His wife, Sarah, had to quit her job taking care of elderly people, because her husband was getting worse.

“He just didn’t have an appetite,” she said, saying she had to stay home to make sure he ate regularly. Hawk dropped a significant amount of weight until she left work, but still hasn’t gotten back up to his original weight.

Hawk was near the top of the list for a transplant when doctors told him they would have to take him off because of a problem with his esophagus. They can’t do the operation until the problem gets fixed, but after that he will return to the top of the list.

Meanwhile, Hawk said, he needs help. He gets only a retirement check each month. Social Security turned him down for disability, and the shipyard hasn’t offered any help, he said.

His retirement check doesn’t even cover his living expenses, he said, never mind medical co-pays and travel for tests and treatments.

“I’m barely making it with the help of my children,” he said.

His wife has made pillows to sell and held a yard sale to raise money, but neither brought in the kind of funds the family needs.

“We don’t know what to do,” Hawk said.

To help, visit www.helphopelive.org and type Stanley Hawk’s name into the “Find a Patient” box on the right. Donations made through the website are tax-deductible.