Despite the added burden of an oxygen tank and his need for a lung transplant, Bob Glynn, by one estimate, has spent more than 1,000 hours in the past five years helping others at St. Patrick Church events.
Much of the volunteer time has come in the kitchen for meals associated with education, fundraisers and community outreach.
Just this year he spent approximately 12 hours preparing in the kitchen for an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service meal that included more than 200 parishioners from churches in Burlington and Canton.
“I enjoy it,” Glynn said. “That’s my hobby. I’m just someone who likes to cook.”
But Glynn, who grew up in Farmington and now lives in Canton, goes well beyond, spending countless hours and often his own money, said Peter Fortier, faith formation coordinator at St. Patrick. Glynn also pitched in at the community shelter during the October 2011 snowstorm.
“It’s just the kind of guy he is,” Fortier said.
Fortier is one of several community members who have formed a committee to help Glynn get ready for a lung transplant — both physically and financially — starting with a fundraiser at Flatbread Wednesday night.
In 2008, Glynn began experiencing fatigue and after a lung biopsy was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that results in scarred and stiffened lungs. As a result, they have trouble getting oxygen into the bloodstream.
Glynn admits to being a former smoker but the cause for his condition is nearly always unknown. He also once worked around concrete dust.
“They said that doesn’t have anything to do with it but I wonder,” Glynn said.
There is no cure and those with advanced cases generally need a lung transplant, according U.S National Library of Medicine. Such is Glynn’s case.
Helping him with the effort is the National Foundation of Transplants. Glynn, however, still needs to lose some weight and raise approximately 10 percent of the estimated $550,000 cost.
About 10 residents, including Fortier and Glynn’s wife Janet, have formed a committee to help on a local level. The goal is to raise about $75,000, Janet Glynn said, to cover their share of the transplant and help with numerous other costs, such as travel to the New York for the surgery and a host of ongoing expenses. Post surgery medicines alone are estimated at $1,000 per month.
The committee plans to host several fundraisers, the first Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Flatbread in Canton. From 5 to 9 p.m. the restaurant will donate a portion of each pizza sold. In addition there will be a 50-50, a silent auction and live music. From 6 to 7 p.m. Glynn himself will play guitar with friend Carl Valois.
Other fundraisers will be announced.
Glynn has met with doctors, is taking classes on the transplant and is well prepared. In addition to the funds, however, he needs to accomplish one other feat.
"The doctors are ready to go. We're ready to go but Bob needs to be at a healthy weight," Janet Glynn said.
He’s already lost 67 pounds but is still about 40 pounds from the 220-pound idea. It’s challenging for Glynn but daily walks with his wife, trips to the gym with two teenage-aged kids and time with a registered dietitian have helped. In addition some 83 people have pledged to donate a set amount for each pound he loses. Currently it totals $250 per pound.
Bob Glynn knows he has a long road ahead of him. The couple is determined to be ready to go by Spring. From there donors are selected in pairs but the availability of a lung would go to the best fit. There may be some false starts before it actually happens. And after a transplant, Glynn would have numerous restrictions, challenges and medical needs. It’s also sobering to think of how he will obtain a lung.
“Unfortunately someone has to die for this,” he said.
The couple also realizes there are many challenges ahead and want people to know that should Bob not make it, any remaining funds would go to another transplant patient in the state.
But the couple also takes solace in the support they’ve received from the NFT as well as locally.
Bob grew up in Farmington and Janet the Tariffville section of Simsbury. They’ve been in Canton about 20 years and said they so appreciate all the help.
“He’s got a really good support system,” Janet Glynn said.
Anyone who wants to help can do so in several ways. The funds raised Wednesday will be donated directly to the NFT. People can also make an online donation at his NFT page. or send to NFT Connecticut Transplant Fund 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119.
Anyone who wants to help with local efforts can contact Janet Glynn at email@example.com or 860-463-8355.