Taking a breath for new adventure

What: Fundraiser for Naples resident Markius Galford

Where: The American Legion Post No. 155

When: Saturday, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Why: After three years, Galford is number one on the list to receive a lung transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital. The only financial needs are for expenses involved with his aftercare during their stay in Boston, which includes paying for a place to stay and basic living expenditures for that duration.

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Lori Galford misses riding motorcycles with her husband as much as he longs to take to the open road with her.

Markius Galford also misses fishing excursions with his best friend, and having the endurance to go hunting with buddies in his home state of Maine.

He is looking forward to again being able to play rough and tumble outdoors games with his grandsons, who already frequently spend time with him.

For the past two years, Markius has been on oxygen, and unable to do those things he most enjoys.

“He has been on oxygen 24 -7 for two years, and is now up to six to eight liters depending on what he is doing,” his wife Lori said.

But, he has not let that fact get him down.

“Markius has the best outlook,” she said.

Now, an upgrade in his status as a lung donor has given the couple — and their family and friends — a breath of relief.

“He says this will start a new adventure for us,” she said.

Almost 10 years ago, Markius and his wife learned that he had Alpha One Antitrypsin deficiency, which is a rare genetic disease passed down from the biological bloodline.

After three years of being on the lung donor list at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Galford family learned that Markius has been moved to number one.

“We have been very patient but we are ready for this next step,” Lori said.

“He has not been able to go fishing with his best friend, go hunting or play for two years. These are a few of the things he misses most. I miss being able to go on a motorcycle ride. We used to do that a lot and can no longer do that,” she said.

The next step toward a lung transplant could not have been taken without the acts of kindness and concern shown to the longtime, long-married couple by the community members around them.

On Saturday, the American Legion Post #155, to which the Galfords belong, will hold a fundraiser on Markius’ behalf.

“We have both been members of the American Legion for over 15 years; and they have always been supportive of anyone in need. They suggested the benefit dinner to raise some funds to help with costs while we are in Boston,” Lori said.

The couple has been married for 35 years. They took their vows when they were in the twenties. Both Markius and Lori dedicated 10 years of their lives to military service before moving to Naples.

“We have had an overwhelming amount of support from the community. People have been very generous. Rowe Ford in Westbrook, where my daughter works, donated $2,100.00 to our GoFundMe account,” Lori said.

“I am very humbled by all this,” she said.

“I work at Point Sebago Resort as the front office manager. This is my 20th season there so I have the vacation time and support from my employer and all my co-workers,” she said.

At this point, the only financial needs are for the expense of aftercare in the Boston area.

“We have been waiting for ‘the call’ for about eight weeks now. When we receive the call we will have to go to Boston to have the surgery. Markius will stay in the hospital for two weeks. We will then have to stay in the Boston area for an additional three weeks to go for checkups and such,” she explained.

“Here in Maine is too far as we need to be within 45 minutes to the hospital,” Lori said.

“He will have appointments to make sure he is not rejecting the new lungs and therapy,” she said.

The focus for the fundraising is for the duration of time the Markius will spend in Boston during the post-surgery phase.

“We will have to have a place to stay and monies while we are there,” she said.

Lori is looking forward to friends’ support on Saturday night, and she is anticipating that phone call when the couple heads out on this new journey of having a long-awaited surgery

Like everyone, Markius’ grandsons are looking forward to Bugda’s recovery and return home to Naples.

“He is really close with them and they call him, ‘Bugda’ — not sure where that came from but my grandson came up with it and it stuck,” she said.

“He has some really special time with them as they like to come over and spend time with us,” Lori said.

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