“So proud of him:” Life has changed for Wisconsin toddler after double lung transplant

PLOVER — A Wisconsin boy has received a double lung transplant, after seven weeks of waiting at a St. Louis hospital. With the transplant, he has the opportunity to be a regular kid.

Roland Raabe was born with a rare lung disorder that hindered his breathing. The two-year-old boy from Plover and his family moved to St. Louis, and waited just seven weeks before they got the call that would change their lives.

“The person on the phone was very, very calm. They said that ‘there’s been a donor. A lung donor,'” Cathy Raabe, Roland’s mother said. “It was like, an exciting moment and a scary moment. Roland was asleep in the stroller at that point.”

They rushed to the hospital, and the transplant still wasn’t a guarantee.

“A lot of going back and forth with the lung to make sure it was healthy and it was the right match for Roland,” Cathy Raabe said.

After they got the green light, it was time for surgery.

“Every hour-and-a-half, we had a personal phone call from the nurse, letting us know how it was going, what they were doing,” Cathy Raabe said.

After watching the clock tick for nine hours, doctors emerged and Roland Raabe was given two new, healthy lungs.

“I asked the nurse to whisper in his ear that we love him,” Cathy Raabe said.

Things have changed for Roland — a very brave toddler.

“If he wants to go into another room, he can get up and go into the other room — go down the slide. We can do that without this major maneuver with this equipment and cords,” Cathy Raabe said.  “I am so proud of him and so excited for him. I can’t wait. For me, the moment I’m really looking forward to is being able to pick him up and twirl him around without getting all tangled up in the cords.”

The family expects to return to Wisconsin within the next three months.