Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Claydon: Even the rain can’t wipe the smile off Phoebe Fordham’s face - heart and lung transplant survivor appreciates everything life has to offer

13:30 29 July 2014

Phoebe Fordham , who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, is looking forward to her wedding day after getting a heart transplant.

Phoebe with her fiance Adam Bester.

Phoebe Fordham , who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, is looking forward to her wedding day after getting a heart transplant. Phoebe with her fiance Adam Bester.

Archant

She feared the day would never come, but today heart and lung transplant survivor Phoebe Fordham is making plans for her wedding.

Phoebe Fordham , who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, is looking forward to her wedding day after getting a heart transplant.  Phoebe with her fiance Adam Bester.Phoebe Fordham , who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, is looking forward to her wedding day after getting a heart transplant. Phoebe with her fiance Adam Bester.

Phoebe, of Claydon, was just 15 when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening condition which causes fainting and dizziness and makes taking part in any kind of exercise and many activities nearly impossible.

Initially she was given a few months to live, but thanks to support and medication she received at Papworth Hospital, she successfully battled against any prognosis the doctors gave her.

“It was a goal for me, rather than something to be feared,” said the 26-year-old.

It was that determination that kept Phoebe going, despite what the debilitating disease had done to her. And today, she can finally look to the future with hope after receiving a life-saving heart and lung transplant which has turned her life around for the better.

One of the biggest changes since the operation has been her ability to take part in some of her favourite activities again.

Phoebe said: “I feel so appreciative of everything I have now. It’s even the stupid things like feeling the sun because I used to be just too tired to go out.

“I didn’t realise how much I was losing until I got it all back. I didn’t miss running so much until I ran down the garden for the first time in years.

“Going into the water for the first time earlier this year. It was teeming down with rain, it was torrential rain, the type that hurts your skin when it hits. It was cold weather but I sunk in and I just loved it.

“That was something that really was quite important to me. I looked at my fiancé and I could see he felt it, too. I’m looking forward to the many new things I can do now.”

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition which leads to an increase of blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries.

This leads to a multitude of problems including shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting.

During her 10-year battle, Phoebe admitted her condition continued to get worse and worse and the need for a transplant, which she got in October, was getting increasingly desperate.

She grew up not being able to participate in the things most people her age were doing and that she slowly lost her ability to take part in many activities.

Looking back before the transplant, she said: “Being a young person with such a debilitating disease wasn’t a nice experience.

“I was getting to the point where I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe, I was struggling to walk even tiny distances. I was more dependant on other people.

“I think increasingly there was a feeling of maybe things might not work out how we wanted.

“Looking back at photographs about a year ago I looked so drawn and tired. Since the transplant I have put on weight, I look healthy and more awake. Everybody I have met has looked at me and been amazed at how healthy I look.”

After getting a new lease of life, Phoebe is now preparing to marry her long-term partner Adam Bester, also 26, next summer, the man she said has been one of her biggest supports.

But she is also determined to say thank you to others who have helped her. This weekend, a group of her friends will be taking part in an event called Lost In Suffolk, where teams will be dropped off at different locations and will need to get to a designated area.

That will raise funds for the Papworth Hospital Charity.

She says she will always be grateful to that organisation but also that the constant support of her friends and the family of her donor, will never be forgotten.

“The donor’s family could have said no, we don’t want our loved one touched, and that would 
have been understandable,” she added.

“But the absolute joy they have given us and the hope for the future they have given us – we are incredibly grateful.”

For more information about Lost in Suffolk, or to donate, visit www.lostinsuffolk.co.uk

Among those taking part in the Lost in Suffolk event on August 2 will be Phoebe’s friend, teacher Zoe Markillie.

For Zoe, who now works in Brighton, the fundraiser is particularly close to her because as well as helping Phoebe, her mum, Helen, also had a heart transplant there seven years ago. She suffered from cardiomyopathy.

Zoe, 26, is full of praise for the hospital as she has seen first hand the changes it can make to people’s lives.

She said: “They do something really important – they save so many lives every year. My mum couldn’t walk to the other end of the garden but now she can go all over the place. It also changes people’s lives. It’s not like any other hospital.”

Zoe added that the changes she has seen in Phoebe since she got her transplant have been truly remarkable.

“We didn’t think she would live to this age. She got worse and worse over the years and couldn’t walk very far.

“A few weeks ago we went for a bike ride and that was very emotional because I didn’t think we would ever do that.

She can now walk much further and she has got her life ahead of her.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Buttermarket Ipswich.

Ipswich has been hailed as a great place to do business after the Buttermarket Centre was sold in a multi-million pound deal even before the final pieces are put into the redevelopment jigsaw.

Suffolk Constabulary's headquarters in Martlesham Heath, where the 999 control room is based.   Picture: SU ANDERSON

People seeking emergency help abandoned more 999 calls to police in Suffolk than anywhere else in the country.

Ipswich Towns Daryl Murphy and Adam Webster, of Norwich City, hang on to each other during last summer's match between the East Anglian rivals.  Picture: Steve Waller

It is one of the most hotly anticipated games of the season for football fans in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Man denies fraud in alleged romance scams. Picture: Muenz

A man conned five women out of money after meeting them through dating websites and telling them he was a former RAF pilot and businessman, a court heard.

Ipswich pub for sale

A landmark Ipswich town centre pub with full catering facilities and three bedroom flat is for sale, freehold, through Penn Commercial for £720,000.

Silhouette of a domestic abuse victim. Picture: Andy Abbott

A project pledging to give extra support to domestic abuse victims in Suffolk has been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds in government funding.

Ipswich Hospital is facing a multimillion pound overspend this year. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Health providers in the region are on course for an £80million overspend this year – prompting fresh warnings about pressures facing the NHS.

Traffic on the Orwell Bridge. Picture: Lucy Taylor

A car has broken down in the outside lane which is causing problems for drivers heading towards Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

This blue jay flew straight at me in Sarasota, Florida. One shot, bang and it was gone.

Our iWitness picture of the day was taken on soil more exotic than that found in Suffolk - across the pond in America.

Police closed a section of the A14 near Bury St Edmunds today after fears were raised over a woman’s safety.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24