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Odessa comedian needs double lung transplant to survive COVID-19

Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 3:03 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -

An Odessa comedian continues fighting for his life since he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in July.

Now Andrew Capen’s mother said he needs a lung transplant to survive, but getting one isn’t easy.

COVID-19 on top of asthma nearly broken Andrew Capen.

“Every day his chest x-rays were worse,” Brenda Capen said. “The virus was just eating away at his lungs and there was nothing they could do to stop it.”

However, Brenda said his spirit remained strong.

“He’s a fighter,” she said.

Andrew had to be transferred to hospital in San Antonio and put on ECMO, a device that oxygenates his blood for his lungs. Although that helps, so much damage has been done he needs a new set of lungs to fully recover.

“So, it’s been a roller coaster,” Brenda said.

On top of that, Brenda said she’s having to navigate through bureaucratic red tape too.

Andrew doesn’t have insurance, so she tried to get cares act money set aside for patients like her son. But time and again, those requests were only met with dead ends.

“All the news laws that were put in place this year to help COVID patients, to help hospitals, to help everyone, people have to knowledge of it,” she said. “They don’t know.”

Through the frustrations, Brenda had to do her own homework to figure out how to get Andrew an insurance plan to make him eligible for the transplant.

“That’s my baby,” Brenda said through tears. “I can’t let anything bad happen to him because of paperwork.”

For the past few months, Andrew has progressed to where he can do physical therapy every day even while he fights off infections.

Even through months of looking up at a hospital ceiling, Andrew hasn’t stopped pushing toward recovery. Like a true comedian, he does his best to do it with a sense of humor.

“He does still try to smile and crack jokes with the nursing staff,” Brenda said. “It’s just harder.”

Brenda said she wants transplant hospitals to see Andrew’s resilience and choose him for the surgery so this nightmare can end.

For now, all Brenda and Andrew can do is wait and pray.

“There’s just so much that he needs in a short period of time,” she said. “So, we’ll take any prayers.”

Andrew’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help out with their expenses.

If you’d like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.

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