Truck Driver Fighting For His Life

Joe Philyaw


A man who has been working his whole life may soon die, if he can’t raise enough money for a treatment that would save his life.

Joe Philyaw, of Atmore, Alabama, has spent more than two decades caring for his disabled wife.  He was so busy taking care of his wife and working as a truck driver, he ignored the fact that his own body was beginning to fail him.  For twenty years, Philyaw knew his breathing was labored but only sought medical attention, with urging from his wife,  after his lung collapsed.

[pullquote align=”right”]“They told me I had five years left to live,” Philyaw told Atmore News. “That was three years ago.”[/pullquote]

Once at the doctor, Philyaw learned he had a condition called  Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis, a build up of scar tissue in the lungs believed to be caused by prolonged exposure to an unknown toxin.

“They told me I had five years left to live,” Philyaw told Atmore News. “That was three years ago.”

The only cure; a costly lung transplant.

Philyaw was forced to leave his job as a truck driver, making it harder to raise the necessary funds for the transplant.

Philyaw is now on oxygen 24 hours a day.

To compound matters, Philyaw’s wife grew ill and had to be admitted to the hospital.

There are many hurdles in front of Philyaw, but he’s doing all the can to pass them.  He has lost the 15 pounds his doctor said was necessary before he could have the surgery.  The final and largest hurdles is having enough money in the bank to pay for the surgery’s aftercare.  You see, Philyaw will have to undergo a course of anti-rejection medication following the transplant.

“Joe can’t qualify for a transplant unless we can show the ability to afford his anti-rejection and anti-viral medications,” Philyaw’s wife Teena told the Atmore News. “Just one can cost as much as $1,000 a month and he could need as many as seven.”

The couple is working hard to achieve their goal, but the clock is ticking.

“The transplant and related costs can run as high as $200,000 the first year alone,” Teena said. “We set up a page on the web site, giveforward.com, to try and raise the money. Our goal is to get the $20,000 Joe needs to qualify by March.”

One of the biggest donors was another truck driver who has never even met Philyaw.

Please read some of Philyaw’s story here:

Joe and his wife, my sister Teena, live in Atmore Alabama. Joe is a friendly southern gentleman willing to help anyone at any time. Joe has been a really nice brother in-law and wonderful husband to my sister. Although it has been hard to understand his thick southern accent my family has been really blessed to have him in our sister’s life. He’s one of the lucky things in her “a bit unlucky” life.

Born teeny tiny Teena, with an underdeveloped digestive system she struggled from birth to thrive, and suffered frequent hospitalizations as a toddler with kidney problems.

Accidently burned by two cups of scalding coffee as she ran and threw her arms around her mom’s legs to hug her; Teena was a patient at Shriners Hospital in Springfield Massachusetts. Third degree burns down her tiny neck, shoulder and torso needed long painful treatments and skin grafts. She has the scars to show how seriously she was burned.

 At seven while riding her bike out of a friends driveway she was hit by a car an declared clinically brain dead (she wasn’t). She survived 4 weeks in a comma and endured years of rehabilitation to learn to talk and walk all over again. Many surgeries for her wondering eye, residual weakness of her left side, knee surgeries and anti-seizure medicines are just part of the continuous lifelong treatments that followed.

In 2009 emergency surgery for abdominal issues resulted in a second emergency surgery and a colostomy. Teena was in intensive care in Alabama and unable to attend her mom’s funeral in Massachusetts.

 About this time Joe was diagnosed with terminal lung disease and his health rapidly declined, and Teena and Joe’s world took another bad turn. 

This past year a brave surgeon reversed Teena’s colostomy that others said could not be done. I think that was a turning point in Teena’s luck…

Written by: Joe’s sister-in-law, Linda Scott

There are 3.1 million people in the trucking industry, think what could be done if every person just donated $1.00.

If you wish to help, donations can be made by following this link.