One week after Henry and Mackenzie Unga were married, Mackenzie Unga was diagnosed with a rare lung disease. The couple rely on their faith and each other as she awaits a transplant.
As Henry Unga loads his car with three tanks of oxygen, his wife, Mackenzie Unga, uses her energy sparingly as she calculates the effort it will take to leave home. In the past few months, the simple task of leaving the house has become a complex "circus" for the Ungas, Mackenzie Unga explained. Yet their optimism, faith and occasional indulgence in a sweet treat allow them to keep pressing forward.
A year and a half ago, Mackenzie Unga began to have difficulty breathing. It started out small, and Unga considered the possibility of having asthma or simply being out of shape. But shortly after the couple's wedding in 2015, Mackenzie Unga was diagnosed with pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, a rare terminal lung disease that affects 1 in 6 million people.
"There’s maybe two other people in the U.S. who have this disease, so it’s super rare and came out of nowhere," Mackenzie Unga said. "It’s one of those things that just kind of finds you. You realize that maybe this happened for a reason if it’s so specific."