Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:43 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:43:48 GMT
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Retired Staff Sgt. Daniel Meyer served in Iraq and Afghanistan. While there, he said he was exposed to burn pits.
The pits are used to dispose of the military's trash. Items burned include everything from paint cans to tires. Meyer said he breathed the toxic air in while living next door to the pits.
"I suffer from a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. It's a terminal progressive illness," the 29-year-old said.
One day he won't be able to breathe and will need a double lung transplant. He also has bilateral masses on his legs, confining him to a wheelchair.
He's not alone.
"I know other guys who were at the same base as me at the same time, and they have the same lung disease," Meyer said.
In 2012 Meyer was invited to a golf camp for wounded veterans. The Harmon's Heroes Foundation gave him custom-made Titleist golf clubs and exposed him to the links.
"It was an event that definitely changed my life," Meyer said.
He fell in love with the sport. But Meyer's immune system can't support the hobby. Most of the year he has to stay inside, away from flu season and out of the heat.
"If I had the opportunity to get out there and play golf and do something, I'd be on the course every day. Unfortunately, I'm not able to," Meyer said.
His instructor got ForeSight Sports on board to get him a custom golf simulator, so he can experience the fairway inside his own home.
The price is hefty, though. It would cost upwards of $70,000 to purchase. The company brought the price down to at cost and said Meyer could get it for $20,000.
Meyer secured $15,000 from Harmon's Heroes and other generous donors, but it's still not enough.
"They're really excited to do this project, but to do so, we just need the other $5,000," he said.
Meyer said he hopes someone can come forward and make his dream a reality. The married man has to spend most of his days on the couch and said he would look forward to a little variety in his daily routine.
"The opportunity to bring this in the house would be life-changing," Meyer said.
Meyer said the burn pits are still burning in Afghanistan. He expects tens of thousands will eventually be documented as having the same type of disease or one similar to what he got while serving overseas.
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