‘Cystic fibrosis is a 24-hour job’

Caroline Spencer of Mossdale Road, Mansfield who is backing a fundraising capmpaign to build a new �6.2m centre for Cystic Fibrosis patients in Nottingham.
Caroline Spencer of Mossdale Road, Mansfield who is backing a fundraising capmpaign to build a new �6.2m centre for Cystic Fibrosis patients in Nottingham.
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A FOREST Town woman who suffers from cystic fibrosis (CF) is backing a fundraising campaign to create a new state-of-the-art medical facility for patients at Nottingham City Hospital.

Nottingham Hospitals Charity wants to raise £2.1m to create a new CF centre which will help transform care for sufferers across the county.

CF is an isolating, devastating condition and patients cannot mix with other sufferers due to the risk of cross-infecting one another with potentially fatal lung infections, preventing them from getting face-to-face support from the only people who really understand their illness.

Caroline Spencer (35) describes having CF as a ‘24-hour job’ and says that the centre will help patients feel less isolated.

“Having CF really controls my life and affects the people around me,” she said.

“It makes me so angry when I have to cancel arrangements I’ve made with friends because I have a chest infection and I hate my boyfriend seeing me when I’m at my worst.

“I often need to come into the city hospital at short notice because I’ve developed a chest infection or I’m having trouble with my feeding.

“My whole day is taken up with doing lots of different treatments to try and keep myself as well as possible.

“I try and lead a normal life, but this can be very difficult because of the amount of treatment I have to do.

“My day starts as it ends, with dealing with my over night feeds. With my CF, I struggle with my weight, so I have to feed myself throughout the night via a tube that goes directly into my small intestine. With the volume of food I need, I have to feed for 16 hours a day.”

“There is also the rest of the other treatment I need to fit in around my day. I have six nebulisers to do, which take around 15 to 25 minutes each, and involve inhaling various drugs through a mouthpiece.

“In between these I have to fit in two physiotherapy treatment sessions to help clear my lungs and if I was to go out for the day, then I would need to take my nebulisers with me, as well as all the tablets I take throughout the day.”

Caroline hopes the CF centre will give her quicker access to a hospital bed.

“It will also mean I’m in a unit with other CF patients, rather than on a ward with ill elderly patients, which can sometimes happen and can be quite daunting as a young patient,” she added.

“Hospital is almost like a second home to us, so it will mean a lot to have such a fantastic new unit to meet all our different needs, such as exercise, nutrition and medication.”

Nottingham Hospitals Charity needs to raise at least £2.1m for the new unit with the £6.6m project being part-funded by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH).

The new 16-bedded unit will be able to serve more than 250 patients from across Nottinghamshire and from surrounding counties, almost doubling the number of patients that can be accommodated.

l To make a donation or for advice on fundraising contact Nottingham Hospitals Charity on 0115 962 7905, email charity@nuh.nhs.uk or visit www.nuhcharity.org.uk.