By Mark Dowie The Press and Journal
Friends of a Perthshire woman who suffers from a rare lung condition have rallied round to raise awareness of the illness – and funds for a support group.
Audrey Ferguson, of Meth-ven, is one of just 120 people in the UK with lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) (learn more at The LAM Foundation) – a lung-wasting disease that affects mainly young women.
Mrs Ferguson, 36, was diagnosed 12 years ago. And until she had a lung transplant in August last year she relied on bottled oxygen and was in a wheelchair.
Her remaining lung is still affected but she is now able to live a relatively normal life.
“When it started I had around 10 different lung collapses over two or three months,” she said.
“I hadn’t heard about the condition and even when it was diagnosed and my GP looked it up in a medical journal there was only one paragraph about it. It’s so rare a lot of people are misdiagnosed but the consultant I saw at Perth Royal Infirmary had seen one case before and recognised the symptoms.”
Mrs Ferguson was placed on a waiting list for a single lung transplant and, after eight false alarms, was called to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle last August.
After the transplant, she was in a critical condition in intensive care and her husband Adrian, 37, was told “not to hold out much hope”.
“It wasn’t a particularly great start but I pulled through and made progress,” said Mrs Ferguson.
“I’m extremely grateful to the donor for putting their name on the organ donor register and to their family who let the transplant go ahead.”
Mrs Ferguson’s friends have organised a sponsored walk along the West Highland Way next month to raise money for LAM Action, a support group for sufferers.
They intend to set off on April 20 and complete the 94 miles in five days.
Mrs Ferguson, a committee member for LAM Action, said: “I’m really touched that my friends are making this gruelling trip to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.
“Just because this terrible disease is so rare, it’s no less life-shattering for patients and their families.”
The group can be sponsored at Over The Hill Walkers
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