Brenda Macdonald's Christmas wish is far different than most people's this year.
She is waiting to receive a lifesaving double-lung transplant.
The Crowsnest Pass woman had been in Edmonton for a pre-treatment physiotherapy program since Dec. 3 but has returned home to Coleman for four days to see her family.
Macdonald has to return to Edmonton this week and will stay until Jan. 12. Her partner Jim Tracey is required to be with her as a support person and, as such, the family won't have an income.
She is eligible to receive the transplant when a pair of lungs becomes available, but she has to prove she has funding to cover all related costs before she will be placed on the transplant list.
The surgery and recovery will require her to be in Edmonton again for at least three months.
The costs of the actual surgery, the hospital stay and three of the five necessary anti-rejection drugs are covered by Alberta Health Services.
Her insurance will cover $18,000, about 100 days worth, of the required anti-rejection drugs.
But Macdonald and Tracey will still need more than $70,000 to cover expenses both at home and away, lost wages and uncovered medical costs during the time period.
Her son Ty, along with two friends and teacher Jody Peebles, have formed a fundraising group called Champions For Brenda.
They have held an art auction and a silent auction so far and have also received donations from community members.
Last week the Ricky Ryp Foundation donated $6,000 towards Macdonald's expenses, which moved their total close to $15,000.
"The community support has been amazing," said Peebles, who is on maternity leave from Crowsnest Consolidated High School where Ty is in Grade 12.
"We are just trying to get the funds in place as fast as possible in case the lungs come soon. I think her health is deteriorating quite quickly. It's pretty scary right now, I think. Any support matters."
Macdonald was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease seven years ago and without the transplant she will have a life expectancy of less than two years.
She was assessed by the transplant team in 2007 but deemed not ill enough to qualify for a transplant at that time.
She became eligible in March and could face up to a two-year wait.
The Champions For Brenda group is hoping the surgery will happen sooner than later.
They are hosting a comedy night on Jan. 24 and planning a marathon floor hockey game at the school for Feb. 1 to 3.
They want to break the Guinness World Record currently held by Winston Churchill High School, where 30 students and community members played 50 hours of floor hockey in 2008.
CIBC account holders can also wire directly. To avoid the usual transfer fees, the bank has made available a transit number (09049) and an account number (74-29738).