Family celebrates life and legacy of daughter while supporting lung transplant patients at St. Joseph’s 

Annette Olson, St. Joseph's lung transplant patient. (March 2015) - As an officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Annette Olson suffered extensive lung damage after a can of pepper spray exploded in her hands. When she could no longer breathe on her own, she underwent a lung transplant to save her life, but her body severely rejected the new lungs, leaving her sicker than ever. She struggled for every breath. Slowly, she lost hope that she’d live long enough to meet her newborn granddaughter, Brianna.

That’s when she came to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The medical team at St. Joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute arranged for Annette to receive new lungs, and, with the compassionate care provided here, she has made an amazing recovery. This summer, she and her family visited Disneyland with 3-year-old Brianna. Today, at 44, Annette says she feels better than she has in 10 years. 

The family of Laura Hart Burdick is intimately aware of the challenges lung transplantation patients face, which is why, each spring, they organize a fundraising event through the Laura Hart Burdick Foundation to benefit the Norton Thoracic Institute.

In September 2005, at the age of 33, Laura succumbed to an intractable lung infection following a lung transplant surgery at Stanford University.

Laura Hart Burdick, pictured with her dog.The only frustration Laura ever expressed during her years of illness resulted from the challenge of trying to obtain the timely support she needed in absence of a local lung program. At the time of her illness, there was no transplantation program in Phoenix. 

The first Laura’s Run was held in March 2007 and was organized by Laura’s family and friends as a celebration of her life and legacy. The run has since become an annual event.

Laura's Run 2015 is scheduled for Saturday, April 11 at Scottsdale Sports Complex, Scottsdale, Ariz. Race registration starts at 7 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m. The event features activities for runners and walkers, as well as a “Kid’s Dash” and “Laura’s Doggie Run” so that the whole family can join in the fun. Live music and raffle prizes add to the festivity. 

For information or to register, visit