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Ailing Grandview woman prepares to move closer to Seattle medical center

GRANDVIEW - Ofelia Castilleja has met her weight goal, making her a better candidate for a lifesaving lung transplant. As a way of celebrating her weight loss, her family will host a good luck fiesta for their mother Saturday, March 26, in Sunnyside.

"We will soon be moving Mother to Seattle and want to give her an opportunity to visit with family and friends before she undergoes the surgery and her long road to recovery," said her daughter, Monica Castilleja.

She explained that her mother's surgeons wanted her to drop to at least 167 pounds before they would proceed with her surgery.

"She has met that goal and is eager for the surgery," her daughter said.

Mrs. Castilleja suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and must undergo the organ transplant in the near future. For the past couple of months her family has been collecting donations to aid in moving their mother closer to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where she will undergo the lifesaving surgery.

Currently, Mrs. Castilleja undergoes respiratory therapy three times as week and faces a six-month recovery period following the transplant surgery.

"We are planning Mother's move to Seattle on March 31," said Castilleja.

The good luck fiesta will be held in Sunnyside at Navarro's Family Community Center, 548 S. Sixth St., at 5 p.m. A dance and refreshments are being sponsored by a number of Sunnyside and Lower Valley businesses, who are helping to organize the party, Castilleja said.

"Mother is in good spirits and is very excited to be leaving for Seattle," said her daughter.

The Castilleja family had placed donation jars around Grandview and Sunnyside which will be collected March 25, said Castilleja.

"We've raised probably about $500 for which we are very grateful," she said.

An emergency medical account has also been established at the Grandview branch of Washington Mutual Bank. In addition, the family will accept donations at the March 26 dance.

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