Family loses mother; Husband raises awareness for wife's condition

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte neighborhood is going above and beyond to welcome home a local father and his two sons who have faced adversity and a tragedy in the last three weeks.

The man's wife Lauren died after traveling cross country to Phoenix for a lifesaving surgery.

Tyler Dobbins is still in awe of his wife Lauren, 33, who died unexpectedly after a successful surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix that they hoped would save her.

“She's actually a lot better off than we are right now,” Tyler Dobbins said. “She's in no pain.”

He spoke to Channel 9 by phone Thursday as he drove back from Arizona with his two sons.

“God has a plan,” he said. “Sometimes that plan isn't what we want or understand."

Lauren suffered from thoracic dystrophy and pectus excavatum, compressing his wife’s heart and lungs.

Lauren could barely breathe, only able to use 40 percent of her lung capacity.

They traveled to Arizona for the procedure and paid $7,000 to rent a house during their stay and when they arrived, the landlord backed out and kept the money.
Desperate, they turned to social media and a local firefighter with a home for rent let them stay for free.
"It doesn't just stop at the fire station," Kim, who did not want to give her last name, said. "That's who we are. When you see someone who's been wronged, you pretty much want to go after them."
Soon, the entire fire station stepped in to help.
"Their outpouring was awesome," Tyler Dobbins said.

Eventually, Lauren's husband made the tough decision to let her go.

"Some days I don't know how I got through the whole hospital experience and being by her side, but she was with me and she always will be," he said.

Tyler hopes to arrive back to their home in Charlotte this weekend, along with medical bills mounting over $150,000.

But neighbors at the vineyard are ready to help him and their two sons with everything they need.

Tyler goal is to raise awareness on pectus excavatum and thoracic dystrophy.

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