By Meredith Barack

CHICAGO (CBS) — There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for one Lake County man who has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for months, as he will soon receive a gift that could not have come at a better time.

“He was officially listed,” said Tara Losch. “He’s top priority in our area.”

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It’s the call she had been waiting for.

“It’s amazing, it’s scary, it’s exciting,” she said. “It’s every kind of emotion all rolled into one.”

Her boyfriend, Matt LaPrade, is finally on a transplant list to get a new set of lungs, an early Christmas gift 111 days in the making.

“We call it a COVID coaster,” she said.

The 46-year-old from Winthrop Harbor was unvaccinated when he tested positive for COVID at the end of August. By the first week of September, he was in intensive care. It came as a shock to those closest to him.

“He didn’t have any underlying issues, he worked out every day, he ate healthy,” said Losch.

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LaPrade was treated at two different hospitals in Wisconsin before finally landing at a third in Milwaukee that had the equipment that Losch credits with saving Matt’s life.

“He fought hard, he never gave up, he just kept going,” she said.

Losch said she’s ready for LaPrade to finally feel better after he missed out on so much these past 3.5 months.

“I mean from Labor Day to Christmas, he’s missed every holiday. And I’m like, it’s just time, like we’re ready. I don’t know why Matt got all the chanches he got, but I’m thankful he did,” she said.

Losch said LaPrade’s story has inspired others to get vaccinated, and her heart is with anyone else whose loved one will be spending their Christmas in the hospital battling COVID.

“It’s awful,” she said. “It’s the longest, scariest unknown.”

LaPrade currently has a tracheotomy, so the lung transplant will allow him to speak again.

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While his family is relieved he will soon be getting that lung transplant, they do need some financial help. He lost his job and insurance at the end of September. His GoFundMe page can be found here.

Meredith Barack