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Trading places: RD&E staff raise cash for charity by experiencing what itís like to have Cystic Fibrosis for the day


A paediatrician and a hospital manager at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital have raised £430 for a local Cystic Fibrosis (CF) charity by spending a day in a CF patient’s shoes to raise awareness of the condition.


On August 6th Dr Beth Enderby, CF paediatrician, and Nolwenn Luke, CF Centre manager, spent the day getting a small taste of what it’s like to live with CF, experiencing everything from tough physiotherapy sessions, uncomfortable sweat chloride tests, taking regular exercise and consuming a high calorie diet. They also took nebulisers and ‘tablets’ (in the form of sweets), and were hooked up to various dummy ports, catheters and oxygen tanks throughout the day.


To make the experience as realistic as possible, a number of patients with CF kindly donated treatment and diet plans for the day and Beth and Nolwenn were also supported by the RD&E's CF team and national charity the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.


The pair decided to take up the challenge to raise awareness of some of the difficulties patients with CF face on a daily basis and to fundraise for a local charity. Throughout the day they encouraged people to support their efforts by making donations to the East Devon Quality of Life CF Fund, which provides much-needed equipment for CF patients across the South West. Thanks to their efforts they have raised £430 to date, with donations still coming in.


They also shared updates of their day via Twitter using the hashtag #myCFday and documented their experienced by updating a video blog.


Nolwenn Luke, CF Centre manager, said: “For me the day was really interesting and certainly got people talking and asking questions. I really struggled with two things, having to eat 4000 calories proved the hardest and I felt quite unwell by the end of the day. I was also blown away by the amount of time spent on doing treatments which meant I got very little work done that day. I am in awe of anyone who manages to do this and still hold a job of any sorts. It also got me thinking that if you had to do this with one (or sometimes two) children this would be incredibly challenging.”


Dr Beth Enderby, CF paediatrician, added: “I learnt so much about the practicalities of managing treatments in CF. The schedule is relentless – fitting life around it was a real challenge. The CF team were unwaivering in their support despite being really busy looking after ‘proper’ patients.They all made it a really positive experience.”

 

Oli Rayner, a Patient Rep for the Cysytic Fibrosis Trust, said: “As someone who has never known life without CF, I'm really interested to see what Nolwenn and Beth made of doing the treatments for a day and I fully support them. These things usually happen behind closed doors in people’s homes and so they are invisible. It’s a great way to shine a light on the burden of treatment in CF and the challenges of fitting everything into a normal working day.”
You can find out more about the challenge or pledge your support for Beth and Nolwenn

 

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