Jes­sica just keeps on fight­ing to raise funds

Sunday Sun - - News - By Han­nah Gra­ham Re­porter han­nah.gra­ham

AS a young­ster, she helped es­tab­lish a life-sav­ing res­pi­ra­tory unit which treated thou­sands of chil­dren – in­clud­ing those suf­fer­ing from the ge­netic con­di­tion she bat­tles her­self.

Now, ap­proach­ing the age of 30, cys­tic fi­bro­sis suf­ferer Jes­sica Spoor is fac­ing up to wors­en­ing health and the pos­si­bil­ity of a lung trans­plant.

But she’s re­fus­ing to let that stop her to raise more cash for the NHS ser­vices that have sup­ported her for much of her life, turn­ing her own birth­day cel­e­bra­tions into a huge fundrais­ing op­por­tu­nity.

Orig­i­nally from Stocks­field, Northum­ber­land, Jes­sica spent time in New­cas­tle’s RVI as a child, af­ter per­sis­tent chest in­fec­tions and low weight were dis­cov­ered to be symp­toms of cys­tic fi­bro­sis (CF).

Grate­ful for the treat­ment which en­abled their daugh­ter to en­joy life as an or­di­nary teenager, Jes­sica’s par­ents ded­i­cated them­selves to rais­ing cash for the Puf­fin Ap­peal, the fund which aimed to raise £2m to build the res­pi­ra­tory unit which now sits in the Great North Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal at the RVI, with dad Mark act­ing as a trustee for the char­ity.

And Jes­sica joined in, even bat­tling her lung prob­lems to raise thou­sands of pounds as a teenager by com­plet­ing the Great North Run.

Mov­ing to Leeds in 2016, she’s en­joyed a full and ac­tive life, but over the last year or so her health has de­te­ri­o­rated, forc­ing her to leave her job at Asda and con­sider dras­tic surgery.

Jes­sica said: “As you get older it gets worse and worse, which is why I’m now un­der­go­ing as­sess­ment for a lung trans­plant. It can be quite a lot to man­age: ev­ery day I have to do doses of treat­ment, take tablets, use neb­u­lis­ers for my lungs, ex­er­cise. I take IV an­tibi­otics which I give my­self at home.

“I’m hop­ing to get on the list for the trans­plant be­cause then I can start liv­ing my nor­mal life again.

“CF is some­thing I’ve al­ways known I had, I was in and out of hos­pi­tal from a young age, but it doesn’t re­ally feel like you’ve got a life-lim­it­ing dis­ease un­til it gets worse like this.”

Ad­ven­tur­ous Jes­sica loves to travel the world, and says she hopes to get back to globe-trot­ting if a lung trans­plant can help im­prove her con­di­tion, with New Zealand the next coun­try on her list.

For now, she’s go­ing back to her fundrais­ing roots.

Af­ter friends and fam­ily per­suaded her to throw a 30th birth­day party, she de­cided to use the event to raise cash for ward J6 at St James’s Hos­pi­tal, in Leeds, where she’s been re­ceiv­ing treat­ment.

With the event it­self still to come, she’s al­ready col­lected over £4,000 for the wor­thy cause.

“I’ve spent so much time in hos­pi­tal this year, I wanted to give some­thing back to the ward, be­cause I know how im­por­tant what they do is,” she said.

“I feel like I was ini­tially forced into hav­ing a party, but I think it will be real-

■ Jes­sica at St James’s Hos­pi­tal in Leeds

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