By Emma Innes, Mail Online
Bianca Nicholas, 22, suffers from cystic fibrosis, which can make it hard to breathe
A cystic fibrosis sufferer has been saved from a double lung transplant by her love of singing.
Bianca Nicholas, 22, suffers from the life-threatening lung condition which means that she needs daily physiotherapy to prevent mucus build up.
She was facing the prospect of a life-saving lung transplant but incredibly, her love of belting out hits from her favourite musical, Les Miserables, has increased her lung capacity by almost 20 per cent.
As a child, Ms Nicholas’ parents were warned she may only live to nine years old - but the charity worker refused to let her condition get in the way as she dreamed a dream of musical stardom.
Now the aspiring pop star, from Beckenham, Kent, has sung for Prince William and already has a single in the top five of the iTunes chart.
She said: ‘When people discover that I have cystic fibrosis, they can't believe that I'm able to belt out the tunes from Les Mis.
‘Most sufferers tend to have quite a bad cough and get very breathless, so for some it's surprising that I can sing at all.
‘Singing actually exercises my lungs, and because I'm singing all the time, my lungs get twice as much exercise, so it really improves my health.’
She added: ‘I went for a check-up recently and the doctors told me that my lung function was up to 88 per cent - I couldn't believe it.
I'm lucky that something I love not only makes me happy, but actually improves my health too.’
Cystic fibrosis is caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the cells within the body, it affects 9,000 people in the UK and is thought to cause two deaths every week.
It affects the internal organs, especially the lungs, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus, making it hard to breathe.
Experts agree that singing can help those with the condition.
Ed Owens, CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, explained: ‘Many people with cystic fibrosis find unique ways to help keep their lungs clear and themselves well, and singing can form part of the breathing exercises that can help to shift the mucus, decreasing chance of infection.
‘Bianca serves as an inspiration to thousands of others with cystic fibrosis that they can follow their dreams and achieve success at doing the things they love.’
She has also dueted with Will Young, and even got the chance to perform for Prince William at a charity ball
Ms Nicholas began having tests for the condition when she was just five months old, but was given the official diagnosis after her second birthday.
She said: ‘I don't ever remember being told that I have CF, I just always knew I had it.
‘I was probably about seven years old when I realised how serious the condition is.
‘None of my school friends were going to the hospital all the time or taking loads of tablets every day. I suddenly realised I was different.
‘As I've got older I'm used to living with CF. I have to do physio on my chest every morning to clear the mucus on my lungs, and I take about 30 different drugs throughout the day.
Having improved her lung capacity, she now wants to be a professional singer
‘Every morning I take my inhaler, and a nebuliser which takes about an hour, and I have to eat a high calorie diet as the CF stops me from absorbing the goodness in my food.’
Ms Nicholas’ love of singing started when she was five.
Her mother heard her singing along to a tape and was surprised how good she was so enrolled her in an amateur dramatics group.
Since then she has been determined to make a name for herself, and regularly plays gigs up and down the country.
She has also dueted with Will Young, and even got the chance to perform for Prince William at a charity ball in 2008.
Ms Nicholas said: ‘Singing for Prince William was incredible. After I sang he gestured for me to come over and we spent half an hour chatting.
‘I was going to audition for X factor at the time, and he told me that he 'd vote for me if I went on. He was lovely.’
She said ‘I'd practice until I could sing a whole song without coughing. The more I sang, the bigger breaths I could take, and I struggled much less in everyday life.
‘It started to become clear that it was having a really positive affect on my health, and my doctors agreed.’
The next goal in Bianca's singing career is to secure a record deal.
For more information click here to visit the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s website.
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