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December 17, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, December 17, 2004

Climbing coach recovering from lung transplant Climbing coach recovering from lung transplant (December 17, 2004)

By Jon Wiener

Mountain View resident Stacey Li Collver wasn't going to let her terminal illness keep her from doing what she loves -- coaching rock-climbing. Now, her passion for the sport has become a tool in her fight to survive.

Stricken with a rare lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), Collver continued to help coach young rock climbers at Twisters Gym for more than a year after her diagnosis last August. At the time, her doctor told her she had less than two years to live without a lung transplant.

She persisted even while carrying an oxygen tank and later being bound to a wheelchair after her lung capacity plummeted to 11 percent. In late November, she received two new lungs in a rare double-lung transplant at Stanford Hospital.

The 37-year-old Collver has been recovering quickly this week.

"She's speaking much clearer and sharper than ever before," said Carrie Levin, whose son Joshua is one of Collver's star pupils. "She's finally getting oxygen."

Collver has reportedly been walking mile-long laps around the hospital in her effort to rehabilitate quickly.

Her efforts to pass on her love of rock climbing paid off last Sunday when her former students joined other Bay Area climbers in the Second Annual Mt. Everest Challenge, a fund-raiser for Collver held at the Planet Granite rock-climbing gym in Santa Clara.

After insurance, Collver is facing $200,000 in medical costs. The transplant operation cost approximately $750,000, according to Levin. In addition to the fund-raiser and the ongoing Summits for Stacey program, friends are encouraging Collver's supporters to help through the National Transplant Assistance League.

Information about donating is available at or Collver's personal Web site at

E-mail Jon Wiener at

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