Lungs for Libby: Libby passes away after battle with cystic fibrosis

GORDO, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: On March 17, Libby Scott Hankins lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis, according to a family friend that spoke to Rachel Lundberg. She was 23 years old.

March 16, 2017 UPDATE ON LIBBY SCOTT HANKINS:

Almost a year ago, we shared a story of a young woman from Gordo, Alabama battling cystic fibrosis. Libby Scott Hankins had just underwent a double lung transplant at Duke University when we aired the story last May. By that point, Libby had reached her 23rd surgery by the young age of 22.

Months after our story aired, Libby returned to her hometown in late November, just in time for the holidays. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, Libby started not feeling well and had to return to Duke University where she had her double lung transplant. Her body went into rejection from her new lungs.

“Libby is going through antibody mediated rejection, which basically means there are antibodies within her bloodstream that are fighting against her lungs,” a friend of Libby’s named Mary told a group of girls at the University of West Alabama.

Libby is now on life support and completely sedated. She is unable to communicate with her family, however, her mother Susan and other family members have not left her side. “Her family and friends that are there with her continue to lift her up and let her know that everyone from her hometown, across the United States and other countries are praying for her and that her miracle will happen,” Kim Dyer, a close family friend said.

Libby’s support goes way beyond the hospital room. There are more than 36,000 people following Libby’s journey through a Facebook page called Lungs for Libby. Click here to join that page.

“On behalf of her family and Libby we want everyone to believe in Libby and to believe in the power of prayer. God is still in the business of granting miracles and Libby deserves one and needs one,” Dyer added.

Stay with CBS 42 for continued updates on how Libby is doing.

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May 19, 2016 ORIGINAL:

Libby Scott Hankins is a senior at University of West Alabama with one semester left before becoming a special education teacher. She is also a cheerleader and captain for UWA. But there’s something you don’t know about her. “On April 17th at 6:30 am it was a go,” Libby said.

The go? A life changing call that she received a donor for a double lung transplant. Libby did mention that she’s received this call a couple times, but each time she thought, this could be it, and indeed it was. Libby has now endured 23 surgeries in her 22 years battling cystic fibrosis.

How do you thank someone that saves a life? When the topic of her unknown donor was brought up, gratefulness overwhelmed her mother Susan. “We want them to know they’re part of every single thing we do – every birthday, every Christmas,” she continued, ”We are so grateful that they made that decision for her. Even if we never meet or cross paths, they are part of us forever.”

In just a few weeks her breathing function has improved from an all time low of 20% to now an improving 64%. With her recovering strength, Libby was excited to tell her childhood friend that, ”she won’t have to push me in the wheel chair next visit.” Her friend, Kelsey Dyer laughed when she heard what her “big sister” said. ”We ran into a few things with the wheelchair, but you know we made it,” Kelsey said. “I would push her in the wheel chair all the time if I could.”

Nearly 16,000 people are now following her story on a Facebook page called Lungs for Libby. She’s not only an inspiration because of cystic fibrosis but even more for her strength through her struggle. “I don’t know if you’ve heard her laugh, but when she laughs you just have to laugh with her,” says Gina Phillips, Libby’s Aunt.

Even though this does not seem possible, ”She’s probably helped us more than we’ve helped her,” Susan said.

Libby moved to North Carolina for her transplant in April and continues to recover there, hopeful that she will be moving back to her hometown of Gordo in just a couple months.The small town has big plans. Her community has truly rallied around her. ”It’s going to be a great homecoming,” Carole Campbell, a family friend said. “We’re going to have to have a pep rally for our favorite cheerleader.”

If you want to donate to help with her medical expenses, the fund is set up through Children’s Organ Transplant Association, click here.

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