After 30-year wait, Edgewood woman receives double lung transplant


EDGEWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) – Chris Marroquin spent her entire 30-year life waiting for the call that would allow her to breathe with ease.

“I could barely go down our little stairs at home without gasping for air or help sweep the kitchen or anything without gasping,” said Marroquin.

Marroquin was born with Cystic Fibrosis and has struggled to breathe for three decades. The difficult in’s and out’s had taken their toll on her lungs.

“Her PFT’s {Pulmonary Function Tests} were showing about 18 percent, so she was going down pretty fast,” said Chris’s mom, Rosemarie Marroquin.

Pulmonary Function Tests measure how well the lungs inhale and exhale air and how efficiently they transfer oxygen to the blood.

The Marroquins think Chris’ lungs would’ve only lasted for a few more years. So, at the end of July when Rosemarie’s phone rang, it was an answered prayer.

“It was really shocking. I wasn’t expecting it,” said Chris.

“I was so worried because it’s either a win or lose situation. You don’t know the outcome until after it’s done. We could’ve lost her,” said Rosemarie.

Luckily, they didn’t. The lungs were a perfect fit and Chris is recovering, so far, perfectly at Keck Hospital of USC in Los Angeles.

“Oh, it’s incredible. I can actually breathe and walk normally just like anyone else and that part is incredible,” said Chris.

“We got our miracle here, so we’re blessed,” said Rosemarie.

The Marroquins hopped on a plane so quickly once they got the call, they had basically nothing with them in LA, which will be their temporary home for the next four months during Chris’ recovery.

“We knew that she needed it,” said Rosemarie’s colleague Maggie Apodaca, who is the General Manager at Denny’s Restaurant in Edgewood.

With that thought in mind, Apodaca and her assistant manager, Timothy Lundy, drove 11 hours to bring the Marroquins their car, clothes and other supplies.

“The customers love her. Everyone embraces her all the time. She has such a wonderful heart and is always giving as much as she can, so it’s time for us to give back to her and her family,” said Apodaca.

The Marroquins were thrilled when the duo arrived, and the duo was just as excited.

“They brought my car and I didn’t ask for anything. Everything that they’re doing on their own… this is out of good people’s hearts. What more can you ask for?” said Rosemarie.

“When we saw her she looked happy and full of life,” said Lundy.

Soon after, they got another surprise.

“The living expenses are getting really difficult for them and they had to find a place to live for four months. So, we decided as a family here at Denny’s to have a benefit dinner,” said Apodaca.

“Loved. Loved beyond measure,” said Rosemarie.

The benefit dinner will be Monday, August 28 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Edgewood Denny’s.

The proceeds will go towards the Marroquin’s living expenses in Los Angeles.

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