HALIFAX -- Leeann Galloway moved to Toronto in January, soon after she learned she was put on the list for a double-lung transplant. When she first moved, she knew there would be a wait, but, like the rest of the world, she had no idea COVID-19 was coming.

Once the pandemic hit in March, transplants were put on hold, and Galloway's fate was left up in the air.

Pandemic restrictions and her condition meant she couldn't go anywhere. Her husband had already left work, and their home in North River, N.S., behind to be with her.

That means the Galloways have been paying the bills at home and in Toronto.

"We've been living on one income right now," she says. "The government does cover just the rent cost only, everything else is out of pocket."

Galloway says she and her husband managed to find a small house to rent in Scarborough. But they recently had problems with their water system back home, flooding the basement. 

​"It's been a stressful, long seven months," says Galloway. "We're hoping it ends soon."

In the meantime, Galloway walks around their rental tethered to an oxygen machine.

Transplants recently resumed in May, but now she needs to be matched with a new set of lungs. Even when that happens, there's no guarantee the transplant will happen right away.

"Sometimes people get two or three false calls before they get the right lungs," she says.

According to the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, there are eight people from Nova Scotia who are in Toronto waiting for lung transplants, and one person from Prince Edward Island. There are also nine Nova Scotians and one person from P.E.I. on the list, waiting to get a call to move to Toronto.

Michelle Donaldson, communications manager with the provincial Lung Association, says the pandemic made an already stressful time even more difficult for people who are waiting.

"I think it creates a lot of stress and also those people are waiting for a lifesaving procedure, so can they afford to wait?" she says. "That was one of the things that was a big concern amidst the pandemic."

The waiting and worrying is something Galloway is all too familiar with, after her father had a double-lung transplant himself more than a decade ago.

He had a rare blood protein disorder known as Alpha-1 antitrypsin disease, which is considered hereditary. He died two years after his procedure at the age of 54.

Galloway, who is 48 years old, says doctors have tested her for the disease, but so far those tests have come back negative.

"But they think I have something out there that they're not sure of, the way I'm going downhill so fast, and I'm so young."

In the meantime, Galloway says the wait is both an emotional and financial strain.

Friends and family back in North River have been pitching in to help, holding fundraisers and raffles to raise money to help the Galloways pay their expenses.

An online fundraising campaign has also been launched as part of those efforts.

Galloway says total strangers have also donated, including one woman who made a contribution in memory of her son, who died in a car accident and was an organ donor.

Most of all, Galloway misses home, and the daughter and granddaughter she can't see right now except over video chats.

She hopes all the waiting will eventually lead to one thing.

"To get the lungs to come home," she says. "To get better, just to get that call, is my hope."