<img src="https://www.columbiavalleypioneer.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Hann-fam.jpg" alt="FILL THE EDDIE FOR AL Right to left: Alan Hann, his wife, Erin, and Alans brother, Ken Hann, have united for a fundraiser to cover the costs of Alans double lung transplant in Edmonton. The Hann family is asking the Columbia Valley to support their cause during Alans time of need.

Photo by Breanne Massey” />FILL THE EDDIE FOR AL Right to left: Alan Hann, his wife, Erin, and Alans brother, Ken Hann, have united for a fundraiser to cover the costs of Alans double lung transplant in Edmonton. The Hann family is asking the Columbia Valley to support their cause during Alans time of need.

Photo by Breanne Massey

After 10 years of suffering from a shortness of breath caused by a progressive genetic disease known as Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Disorder, Alan Hann learned that he needed a double lung transplant.

The 40-year old Invermerian is fundraising with the Hann family to cover the costs of living in Edmonton for when he spends six weeks there as an outpatient preparing for the surgery, then an additional four weeks at the hospital recovering from the surgery, and yet another six weeks as an outpatient following the surgery.

I need to go to Edmonton because when they think Im ready for my work-up, which could be any time. I have to move there to take a six-week program where you go to the university every day for physio all kinds of stuff from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Monday to Friday, explained Alan. Then, you have to have a family member with you the whole time and youre an outpatient so you have to have a place to live and food to eat thats where a lot of the expenses come from. After that program, then youre on the list and then you wait.

The Hann family hopes to raise $20,000 to cover the expenses of travelling out-of-province for treatments by hosting a silent auction that has been dubbed Fill the Eddie for Alan by the Columbia Valley Rockies, which will take place during their home game against the Nelson Leafs on Saturday, November 28th.

I think (the lung transplant) will help me to do the things I want to do and I can go back to work to contribute to society, said Alan.

Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Disorder is an inherited disorder that can cause lung and liver diseases for people between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, but the signs and symptoms can vary depending on the age of the patient during the diagnosis. It can cause shortness of breath from mild activities, reduced ability to exercise, unintentional weight loss, recurring respiratory infections, fatigue, rapid heart beat upon standing and wheezing.

Some patients also come to develop emphysema, which is a lung disease caused from damage to small air sacs in the lungs known as alveoli a problem that can accelerate the symptoms of emphysema and damage the lungs of smokers.

It hasnt affected my liver, just my lungs, said Alan. So, thats good but my lungs are pretty well shot and I need to get a double lung transplant because of it.

Typically, the Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Disorder affects one in 1,500 to 3,500 individuals with European ancestry (while it remains uncommon in people with Asian descent). The primary problem is getting diagnosed with this progressive disease correctly.

Your body normally has Alpha 1 in it and it rejuvenates the lungs, said Erin Hann, Alans wife. After coughing, we break little alveoli in our lungs and when Alan coughs, his genetic disease doesnt allow him to build those alveoli back up. They become loose, big sacks in there and thats why he cant breathe.

Alan, along with many others impacted by the disorder, was initially misdiagnosed with asthma before an answer to his health challenges arrived. Now, he visits Dr. Robertson in Canmore and several specialists at the Lung Transplant Clinic in Calgary once a month to learn about coping with the challenges of the disease roughly.

At first, it was just a shortness of breath and then, at first, we just thought it was asthma, but it kept on getting worse so we went to a specialist, explained Alan. Eventually, they came to this conclusion and its been a long road and it just keeps getting worse and worse. Its a progressive disease so all were trying to do now is keep the lungs as healthy as we can, but theyre not going to get any better than they are now, and thats why I need the transplant.

Fill the Eddie for Alan fundraiser

When the Hann family decided to host a silent auction to help cover the costs of Alans out-of-province treatments, it made sense to enlist the Rockies help.

Fill the Eddie for Alan will take place at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena when the Rockies play the Nelson Leafs on Saturday, November 28th.

The Rockies have been a huge support system in all of this because (my brother) Al is the volunteer equipment manager, explained Ken Hann. He worked at the rink for years, flooding and all kinds of stuff, so my wife (Cheri Hann) and I had the idea to fundraise at the Rockies game.

The Rockies will be opening the doors to the Eddie at 6:30 p.m. to allow hockey fans and the community to visit the upper mezzanine to browse the silent auction items for about an hour before the game begins.

There will be silent auction items such as a signed Columbus Blue Jackets jersey (by captain Nick Foligno), which was donated from the Davidson family, as well as a signed Stampeders John Cornish jersey.

In addition, there will be Flames tickets, a Rockies package and electronics.

Its going to be good. We have a lot of stuff, said Ken. Maybe 50 items right now, but its tough to say because people are still calling us to pick up donations, but our basement is pretty much full right now. It looks like Christmas in the basement.

Cheri estimates the silent auction items could raise hundreds of dollars for her brother-in-law.

After the game, the Hann family has arranged to put an additional 20 minutes on the clock to wrap up the silent auction giving the Hann familys friends, family and community one last opportunity to beat the buzzer and make a bid to save Alans life.

Weve got tons of donations for the silent auction, said Ken. (And) theyre going to donate proceeds of the game tickets, the 50/50, and the fellow who owns the concession is going to donate some proceeds of his sales to Al, too.

The Hann family plans to distribute the silent auction items after the buzzer sounds to mark the end of the sales, but will also be making calls to follow up with bidders who couldnt stay until the end of the event.

Were hoping everybody will be there until the end, said Ken.

There will also be an ongoing fundraiser for Alan entitled Alans Lung Transplant, which is being run by his wife, Erin, at www.GoFundMe.com, as well as a bank account for donations that has been set up in Alan Hanns name at the Kootenay Savings Credit Union in both Invermere and Kaslo (where Erins family lives).

For more information about the fundraiser, contact Ken at 250-341-3383 or email justforu@telus.net.