Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stars turn out for cystic fibrosis sufferer, Jess

Jess Wales

Popstar Natalie Imbruglia has starred in a concert to raise funds for a seriously ill girl desperate for a double lung transplant.

Jess Wales, 20, from Westgate in Thanet, suffers from cystic fibrosis.

But that hasn’t stopped her winning hearts with her determination to survive the debilitating condition.

The singer performed an acoustic set at the Save Jess-tival show held in Shoreditch, east London, on Friday.

It is to raise awareness of organ donation because even today, the number of people needing transplants far outstrips the availability of organs.

Jess is fighting for her life, with 11 per cent of her lung capacity left. She has waited more than four years for the operation, despite being told she would be dead in 24 months.

She met the Aussie singer last year, and the celebrity was deeply moved by Jess’s plight.

The 34-year-old said: “I told her to let me know if there was every anything I could do to help.

"I was sad to learn that Jess is now so ill and running out of time waiting for her transplant and so was delighted to be asked to take part in this gig in honour of her and to raise awareness of organ donation."

Other celebrities who have offered Jess their support include the Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown, comedians Dara O Briain (SEE DAVE), Bill Bailey, David Baddiel and Phil Jupitus, TV presenter Jonathan Ross and Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst.

Jess has been running an internet campaign to encourage more and more people to sign up to donate their organs in the event of an accident so some good can come from tragedy.

Also taking to the Village Underground stage were The Yeah Yous, plus Canadian comedian Glenn Wool and Mock the Week panellist Ed Byrne.

Recently Jess attempted to complete 20 per cent of the gruelling five kilometre Adidas Challenge run in London’s Hyde Park by walking, but her condition is so bad she was not able to finish.

She relies on an oxygen supply 24 hours a day and a non-invasive ventilator to keep her lungs going when they regularly start to tire.

Jess said: “A lung transplant for me will be literally life changing. It will mean the whole world to me.”

A recent survey found 80 per cent of people agree with donating their organs, but a mere 25 per cent have actually done anything about it and signed up.

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