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Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, who suffers from lung disease and is awaiting a double-lung transplant, has been hospitalized with an infection in her weakened lungs, her office said.

The Lancaster Republican checked into the UC Davis Medical Center on Sunday night with an infection in her lungs, but the illness was not expected to keep the upbeat lawmaker down too long.

"I had to seek hospital treatment due to an infection in my lungs that is common in people with limited lung capacity and a compromised immune system," Runner said in a statement. "I am receiving the best necessary treatment to fight this infection and I plan on returning to work within the next week."

Runner, whose husband George Runner serves in the state Senate, revealed in February that she had been diagnosed with limited scleroderma, or CREST syndrome, a potentially fatal disease with no known cure.

As of April, she was one of 171 Californians on a waiting list for a new set of lungs.

Runner, 53, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease more than 20 years ago, though it didn't impact her everyday life until 2006.

Here's what The Bee's Jim Sanders wrote about that back in April:

The Runners were at their cabin off Highway 50 near Lake Tahoe nearly two years ago when she found herself struggling to walk a quarter-mile - odd, because she loves hiking.

"I just felt like the elevation was getting to me," she said.

Months later, the Runners were visiting Russia, and she panted while climbing staircases.

"I was totally out of breath," she said.

Back in the United States, pulmonary tests were sobering.

Dr. David J. Ross, medical director of the lung transplant program at the UCLA Medical Center, said Runner's lungs now operate at less than 30 percent of capacity, her disease is deadly, and there is no medicinal cure.

The UCLA center has performed 15 lung transplants for scleroderma patients in the past four years, achieving a 95 percent survival rate in the first year after surgery, he said.

Runner has pledged to serve out the rest of her final term in the Assembly, which ends in December.

"Much still needs to do be done in Sacramento and when I return, I will fight for a budget that protects hardworking families and implements sound economic principles," she said in a statement. "I look forward to getting back to work."

"I would also like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has offered their well wishes and prayers during this past year," she added.


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