A woman in need of a life-saving lung surgery is calling on her fellow St. Lucians for help. Anette Smith, a 49-year-old resident of Saltibus, requires $63,000 Canadian or $134,000 ECD for surgery in France, according to her cousin, Leah Boyce, who set up\u00a0a crowd-funding campaign via gofundme.com. Click here to donate. "Give as generously as you can, pray for Anette, if that is all you can afford at this time, or even just continue sharing my post so that it helps us raise this money to get Anette the help she needs," Boyce said on gofundme.com Smith, also speaking via the website, described her illness as a "struggle of a lifetime", and if goes untreated "will end my life". She further stated: "My condition is from severe Chronic Thrombo-Embolic Pulmonary Hypertensive (CTEPH) disease. It is a life-threatening condition. I am not able to walk for long because if I do, I'm not able to breathe. I'm also not able to do any work because of the blood leakage in my heart. The cost of the surgery is extensive, and I simply cannot do this on my own. Smith said there is the surgery is considered a "highly-specialised procedure that should be performed only by an experienced team that includes cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists and intensivists at a medical centre that has a successful track record with the procedure". "Unfortunately for me, there is no such facility here in St. Lucia, and I would have to trave abroad in order to get the lifesaving procedure. That is one of the reasons that I am asking for such a high amount. I not only need to cover the cost of the surgery itself, but also of the travel expenses and after care," she said. "Please reach into your heart and ask: what would you do if you were in the same situation? Reaching out for help is hard, asking for charity is hard. But fighting for life is even harder. I just want that opportunity. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart," she concluded. Understanding the illness (from Anette's page on GoFundMe) The pulmonary circulation is made up of the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood through the lungs (the pulmonary system). As the blood flows though the lungs, it loads up with oxygen and loses the carbon dioxide it is carrying. Then, the oxygen-rich blood returns to the heart through the left upper chamber (atrium), flows into the left lower chamber (ventricle) and out through the aorta to all cells in the body. Once the oxygen is lost from the blood, the veins carry it back to the heart from all over the body. It flows into the heart\u2019s right atrium. After the atrium is filled with blood, it squeezes (contracts) and sends the blood into the right ventricle. When the right ventricle fills and contracts, it pushes blood into the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery goes into the lungs through the pulmonary circulation. A Pulmonary Thromboembolism refers to the clots that travel from veins in the body (emboli) and clog the arteries in the lungs. Once lodged in the lung arteries, they can cause more clots to form (thrombosis) and add more resistance to the blood flow through the lung. This increased resistance from the clots increases the pressure inside the lungs. The medical term for increased pressure is Hypertension. High blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries that lasts six months or longer means it's a chronic problem. The condition often happens after there is a pulmonary embolism. How is CTEPH treated? A surgical procedure called a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy is currently the recommended and only effective treatment for patients with CTEPH. During this complex procedure, the surgeon cleans out the blockages in the pulmonary arteries in the right and left lungs using specialized tools. The surgery is performed through a chest incision while the patient\u2019s heart is stopped. A heart-lung machine takes over the function of the heart and lungs during the procedure.