Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lung patient pledges money for charity

Rachael Wakefield is waiting for a lung transplant
HELPING good causes: Rachael Wakefield is waiting for a lung transplant but has pledged money raised for her to charity.

Special present from Rachael as she waits for gift of life

by Sue Carr Tameside Advertiser

A YOUNGSTER battling a crippling lung disease who was recently granted a place on the transplant list is to give the money donated to help her to charity.

Rachael Wakefield, 21, was just 13 when she was struck down with the disease but was told she didn’t ‘fit the criteria’ for a transplant in the UK.

Her tragic story touched the hearts of many who donated money to send her to the world’s leading lung transplant clinic in America.

Now, after specialists finally agreed to add her name to the donor list, Rachael has decided to split the fund between the five charities who have helped her since becoming ill.

Among the beneficiaries is Willow Wood Hospice in Ashton where she spent six weeks last year.

Rachael suffers from hypersensitivity pneumonitis, more commonly known as bird fancier’s lung, which was triggered by dust from the family’s pet cockatiel’s droppings which wafted into the air. It is harmless to most people but can trigger chronic breathing difficulties in a minority of people.

Mum Lynnette, of Rosewood Close, Dukinfield, said: "When she was in Willow Wood we were warned to prepare for the worst, we didn’t think she was going to come out alive.

"She still goes to the day hospice every Thursday – it just gives us both a bit of a break – and they couldn’t be any better, they are just absolutely fantastic."

Other charities to receive a boost are Wales Air Ambulance, organ donor charity Live Life Then Give Life and Wythenshawe Hospital which will treat Rachael if and when a transplant becomes available.

A donation will also go to the Willow Foundation which grants wishes for seriously-ill adults and earlier this year arranged for her favourite comedian Peter Kay to ring her on her 21st birthday.

The family thanked everyone who had made a donation, but for now there’s only one thing they’re hoping for this Christmas – the phone call which could save her life.

Rachael, a former Droylsden Girls School pupil, said: "In the last couple of weeks my health has got worse and I’m now on a ventilator 24 hours a day.

"I went to see my doctor but he said there’s nothing more we can do and we’re running out of time."

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