Waiting for a double lung transplant: dispatcher fighting cystic fibrosis needs help

He was the voice on the other line when someone in Phoenix dialed 9-1-1.

Now, instead of helping people in an emergency, a police dispatcher is the one who needs help.

He's on the waiting list to get a double lung transplant.

23-year-old Derrick Erickson has lived with cystic fibrosis his whole life. Now the disorder has deteriorated his lungs, to the point where he needs a new set.

His co-workers at the Phoenix Police Department are rallying around him as he waits for a life-saving transplant.

As a 9-1-1 operator and dispatcher, Erickson helped people through some life-threatening experiences.

"He's a fantastic operator, I'm so proud to have him on my squad, he just soars on the microphone," said Denise Birds.

Instead of helping people in every breath, Derick is now struggling to breathe. In order to win the battle against cystic fibrosis, he needs a double lung transplant.

"We thought we had a little more time before it got worse; it kind of crept up on us a little," said Derrick Erickson.

The newlyweds spent their first-anniversary last month in the hospital, with Derrick on a ventilator.

Derrick's co-workers have stepped up to help him and his wife through this.

"They were there for me when he was intubated, it really means a lot just having that support and knowing the city is behind us," said Kim Erickson.

Now they wait with bated breath, literally. Derrick's lungs are only functioning at a 25% level.

"I need to have some oxygen; I get winded pretty easily," said Derrick.

Now it is a bittersweet wait, for a donor to take his or her last breath. It could be days, or months before Derrick can breath easy again.

"It's really hard to think about every night when I say my prayers. I hope for peace, for that family, so they know that it is going to someone who really deserves it, who will appreciate that, we will be able to live a long life together," said Kim.

On Friday, June 5, the Phoenix Police Department will host a fundraiser BBQ for Derrick to raise money for him, his wife, and the medical costs, along with lost wages.

Also, the Donor Network of Arizona will be hosting a drive, offering people the opportunity to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors.

For more information on how to help visit the following links.

GoFundMe: http://www.gofundme.com/ts2pxg

Phoenix PD/Donor Network of AZ Fundraiser: https://www.facebook.com/events/1068802129816602/

Fundraiser at Haus Murphy's in Glendale by Rural/Metro dispatchers and firefighters, featuring live band, raffle, and silent auction: https://www.facebook.com/events/1588864704713678/
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