Beloved Milwaukee UMOS member undergoes successful lung transplant

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After contracting covid-19 and battling it for the last three months, cherished community member Carmen Lerma needed a double lung transplant and she received it overnight Tuesday, Oct. 20. It’s the update we were all hoping for.

Family and friends tell CBS 58 they’re relieved to know Carmen’s received the double lung transplant she so badly needed.

“The process and procedure kind of started late and so it went through the night but this morning we got the really good news that she’s closed up,” said Carmen’s brother Mario Ortiz. "The surgery was successful, thank God she’s got two new lungs. Her body is accepting them so far, and everything’s been going really well.”

COVID-19 caused Carmen severe complications, badly damaging her lungs. She spent the last three months in the hospital while her friends and family outside worried and prayed. Prayers they say were answered.

“It was tears of joy. I think also tears of joy for the community,” said close friend and organizer of her fundraiser, Cecil Negrón.

Negrón got emotional telling us how happy he was to hear the news about her successful surgery.

“The thing is she’s a trooper, she’s a fighter. And I knew that she was going o come out okay.”

“Relief washed over me,” said Daniel Balderas, a good friend and co-director of Salsabrositas Dance.

“She is a living example of someone who chooses duty over ambition day in and day out.”

Friends and family tell us carmen is special and are so grateful for everyone’s support.

They’re glad they breathe a sigh of relief, but want people to continue taking coronavirus seriously.

“It’s amazing to see the community coming together for my sister, but also to raise awareness for the cause,” said her brother. “The reason why she’s going through the process now is primarily the reason why we want to kind of raise awareness so that others might not have to go through this same situation.”

To help with medical costs, a fundraiser is being held for Carmen on Thursday, Oct. 22, at Sabor Tropical restaurant in Bay View -- 2258 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. If you plan on attending, organizers ask you take safety precautions including wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.

Contribute to Carmen Lerma's GoFundMe campaign HERE

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