‘Help me before it’s too late’
A TEENAGER whose crippling lung disease was triggered by the family’s pet cockatiel desperately needs a transplant to survive.
Rachael Wakefield, 20, is fighting for her life in Willow Wood Hospice and admits time is running out.
Specialists in the UK have refused to offer her the lung transplant she desperately requires, telling her she doesn’t "fit the criteria".
Rachael was struck down by the mysterious disease at 13.
The family needs to raise £400,000 to pay for a transplant at the world’s leading lung clinic the Duke University in North Carolina, America.
Rachael, Dukinfield, Cheshire, underwent years of tests but her illness continued to baffle doctors who diagnosed everything from childhood asthma to pulmonary fibrosis.
Two years ago, it emerged the culprit was cockatiel Penni who had lived in the family home since Rachael was eight.
Specialists at a top London children’s hospital told Rachael she has hypersensitivity pneumonitis, more commonly known as ‘bird fancier’s lung’.
Dust from the bird’s droppings wafts into the air like an aerosol. It is harmless to most people but can trigger chronic breathing difficulties in a minority of people.
Throughout her teenage years, Rachael was hooked up to oxygen 24-hours-a-day. While her pals enjoyed nights out she was "trapped in the body of a pensioner" — a virtual prisoner in her own home.
Regular stays in Hospital led to her contracting MRSA twice. And last November she "died" during surgery and had to be revived after antibiotics were given to her too quickly.
She even underwent a course of chemotherapy in January in a bid to "wipe clean" her immune system.
But she deteriorated in August and after yet another spell in Hospital she was transferred to the hospice three weeks ago.
Rachael added: "No one who can help me is willing to do so — I feel like I’ve been left. It is so rare they just don’t know how to treat it. But every day I’m getting worse. And if we don’t raise the money I will die."
Mum Lynnette, 41, said: "It’s heartbreaking. They have told us there is no shortage of organs at the institute in America. But we have to find the cash."
Rachael has set up a website where people can donate to her fund at www.breathingislife.com
Although Paypal is a quick, trusted and easy way to donate they're taking their fees. Out of a £1.00 donation they will take 37p. So cheques can now be made payable to 'Rachaels Future Hope' and sent to: 32 Rosehill Road, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire, OL6 8HR. A Seperate bank account has been opened for the transplant fund and account details will be published on the website ASAP.
I promise tomorrows blog will be a personal one!