Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 15°C

Search

Ipswich: Beautiful Kerry, 20, faces race against time to live

PUBLISHED: 15:55 26 April 2011 | UPDATED: 17:11 26 April 2011

Kerry Thorpe with fiance Josh Nelli and their dog Foxxy

Kerry Thorpe with fiance Josh Nelli and their dog Foxxy

Archant

Most people take everyday activities for granted, but Kerry Thorpe dreams of the day when she can climb stairs without being carried, and take her dog for a walk.

Press Ball to support charity

The Evening Star is dedicated to supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which continues to provide support and care for people with the disease as well as funding new research into possible cures or treatments.

Our annual Press Ball netted £12,500 for the charity last year, and once again we will be raising the bar for charity at this year’s event.

“Kerry’s touching story reflects how vitally important it is for us to give our support to charities like the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

“The charity does fantastic work with people of all ages who are suffering from this horrible disease, and we are proud to be raising much-needed funds for them again this year.”

n If you are interested in Press Ball tickets for 2011, please contact the Mayor’s secretary Christine Christensen on 01473 432641.

When Kerry was just six months old she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) – something which would affect her life forever.

Now she faces a race against time to find a life-saving double lung transplant.

At just 20 years old, Kerry’s life is a cycle of medications, treatments and hospital visits, but with her loving family and fiancé, Josh Nelli, by her side, she told the Evening Star how she was battling her condition with a smile on her face.

The disease not only means that her lungs are functioning well below average levels, but has also caused her to suffer from CF-related diabetes, an enlarged liver with the beginnings of liver disease and weak bones.

She said: “It has reached a point where my medicines no longer keep me stable, my health is declining very quickly and unfortunately I only have one option – and that is to have the transplant.”

In October 2010, doctors told Kerry that without the transplant she only had 18 months to live.

“I was almost expecting them to tell me that,” she said. “But for the next few days, I was unsure of what I was going to do.

“I was scared of making the wrong choice and I was scared of telling people that I had to make this decision because it is either life or death.

"I try to have a positive outlook and maintain a big huge smile on my face, because every day that I wake up, I’m so thankful that I am still alive."

Kerry Thorpe

“The more I thought about having the transplant, the more I wanted to have it done. My family has been there for me my whole life, and by not going through with the transplant I would have been giving up on myself and them.”

After attending a recent hospital assessment, Kerry was told that her lung function was at the lowest point it has ever been.

Her levels were down by another ten per cent since mid February, with her lungs functioning at just 22pc of that of a healthy person.

Fears of prolonged pain and ill health still fill Kerry with worry, but she is determined to have the operation and fulfil her lifelong ambitions.

However, the brave young woman, of Dover Road, Ipswich, is currently fighting to put on weight and remain as healthy as possible, as in order to be added to the transplant list she must tick a number of boxes.

The risky operation would see Kerry given a matching pair of lungs, which fit her body and would allow her to breathe freely and without pain.

But the operation itself is not a cure for CF as the rest of her body would still carry the illness.

“Anyone that is added to the cystic fibrosis transplant list needs a double lung transplant,” she said. “You couldn’t just have a single lung transplant because the CF infected lung would attack the healthy one.”

She added: “I try to have a positive outlook and maintain a big huge smile on my face, because every day that I wake up, I’m so thankful that I am still alive.

“They say you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. If I sat and complained every day or had a negative outlook and didn’t even think about what could be – I wouldn’t be living, I would be dying.

“I can’t wait for the day that I can run up the stairs and not struggle for air, take my dog for a walk and plan days out without a care in the world.”

Kerry accepts that the wait for her transplant could potentially be years away, however she is also hopeful that it could be a matter of weeks after joining the list.

“The bitter truth is that there are not enough organs to meet the demand of transplants,” she said. “But anyone unsure about becoming one, needs to know how much of a difference they can make.

“Something good could come out of an awful situation. By donating a heart, that person’s heart is living on in someone else.”

Until a month ago, Kerry did not tell people about the severity of her illness because she did not want to be a “burden”.

But in recent weeks she has made her blog entries public for the first time, which reflect her fight for life and love for her family, in particular her mother Jacqui and Mr Nelli.

Kerry said: “I began publishing my blogs for everyone to see because I thought it was time for people to understand, and I have been shocked at the amazing response. If I can make just one person learn more about CF, or sign up to be a donor, then I’m clearly making a difference.”

Kerry met her fiancé two years ago.

Mr Nelli said: “From the first moment that I met Kerry, I was struck by how much of an inspirational person she was.

“And even two years on, I still can’t quite appreciate how difficult things must be for her, but she hasn’t ever known any different.

“She continues as normal, with her positive, upbeat outlook on life, the transplant and her illness. She amazes me.”

- This year’s Press Ball, in the Ipswich Corn Exchange on June 17, will support the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Call mayor’s secretary Christine Christensen on 01473 432641 for tickets.

- To become an organ donor, visit www.uktransplant.org.uk

- Send us your letters of support for Kerry Thorpe. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Related articles

20 comments

  • My point is that for Kerry, because of her situation, things are really focussed now, and she is making the most of what she has. The lives of everyone else also hang by a precarious thread, although people are usually not so aware, and may not make the most of the time available. I haven't read Kerry's blog yet, but I do sympathise with her predicament and wish her well, and I hope that she will find a donor and be given a transplant date soon.

    Report this comment

    martha farquhar

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • I carry a donor card, and have done for years. When I'm gone, as long as my organs are healthy enough to be used, they will be no good to me, so I really hope that they will be used for someone like Kerry. I really do think that we should have to "opt out" rather than have the very hit and miss system we have for organ transplants now. Too many healthy organs literally go up in smoke when they could, and should be used to save lives.

    Report this comment

    N M

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • Such a beautiful, brave girl, who surely doesn't deserve the hand that has been dealt to her. I sincerely hopes she receives the medical treatment that she needs. Hats off to her partner too, it is so important that she has someone who can support and understand her suffering. I hope you both overcome this episode and enjoy a happy and long life together. I am sure martha's comments have been misunderstood and she, like the rest of us, only wish Kerry well as she moves forward. A truely remarkable girl and an inspiration to everyone.

    Report this comment

    dean james

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

  • @ Martha, your comment was stupid, next time think before you leave a comment......All the best Kerry

    Report this comment

    D O

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • Martha Just exactly what's your point? Sound like your telling this poor child to get on with it - I for one hopes she get the help she wants and deserves...

    Report this comment

    summy boy

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • I think its a shame that certain people's comments have detracted the real focus of this story. Kerry is quite obviously living her life as much as she physically can, but that is none of anyones business, i don't think there would be any shame in her laying back and relaxing considering the sheer pain she goes through every day. She is doing an amazing thing here, not just for herself but thousands of other people in a similar position to herself, raising awareness of the importance of organ donors. I take my hat off to you kerry, you are amazing, an inspiration and so so strong, i hope you win your battle & fulfil those dreams you so badly want to achieve.

    Report this comment

    anon

    Monday, May 2, 2011

  • martha you should be ashamed of yourself after that comment.

    Report this comment

    Kimberley Thorpe

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • Kerry, you are a brave and beautiful girl. People like Martha (who seems to have an opinion on everything) should be taken no notice of at all. I truly hope you get your transplant, and lead a long happy life with Josh. Good luck to you and all your family.

    Report this comment

    Stevie

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

  • Martha - I understand what you're saying, but I have lived my life KNOWING that I have a life expectancy and now unless I get a transplant, I will die. A lot of those awful situations you said, apart from suicide, are horrible, but it's not something these people would face for weeksmonthsyears. If I died in a fire, I would only know about it once it was happening, however, I know that without a transplant I am going to die. I agree with you about living for today, because you never know what could happen, but I unfortunately DO know and there is a difference.

    Report this comment

    Kerry

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • good on her for keeping going, what a sad but still a happy story of a lovely young lady whom it seems will not be beaten by this.... goodluck to you darl and I hope your transplant comes soon, keep smiling :0) xxx

    Report this comment

    aly ipswich

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • In response to Martha, your comments at best are badly thought out, ever heard about saying nothing if you have nothing nice to say? In your response Kerry you have shown as well as your stunning beauty you have an intelligence far beyond your age. Maybe Martha you do need to spend less time posting comments on every issue & more time actually living. Kerry I wish you all the best for your fight now and in the future. I also carry a donor card, if you don't please think about signing up.

    Report this comment

    Ratherbfishing

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • Martha, you say 'we should all live each day as if it is our last', and yet you spend your days coming on the Evening Star website and saying that it doesn't matter that Kerry could have a potentially short lifespan, because she could get blown up by a terrorist any day? Sounds like you are really making the most of your days. I wish you the best of luck in finding a donor Kerry, just keep an eye out for those terrorists...

    Report this comment

    James

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • Martha Farquah; surely the point of this story is that unlike animals we can prevent some deaths, and that if more people were willing to make the ultimate gift then the lives of many in a similar position could be saved? It sounds like this young lady is trying to live life to the full, but that is difficult to do with such a life limiting illness. It surely goes without saying that we all have to die sometime? But let's try to do something to prevent those untimely deaths that we can.

    Report this comment

    Emmy Lou

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • martha farquhar, What a bundle of joy you are to be around!! Kerry is just 20 yrs old and been given 18 months to live. Lets hope she finds the help she needs long before that time runs out!! And lets hope she doesn't bother reading your fun filled comment!! Kerry, I wish you the very best of luck!!

    Report this comment

    Bean

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • Martha, why so negative all the time?

    Report this comment

    richard wisbey

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • This is a tragic 'real-life' story, I know that '20 year old's get killed by other means, but 'she is still only 20'. The challenges to come must be hard to fathom, the battle to do 'the normal things' must be hard to grasp, She is 'trying' to 'look on the Brightside of Life'-that is the 'best' she can do! True we all will face the 'door' that closes on this 'Great Big Onion', but at 20 it is hard to grasp!

    Report this comment

    csiuk2007

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • I'm an organ donor to. What a lovely looking girl. I wish her all the luck. Yes people die everyday but we don't know when. This lovely girl knows she,s on borrowed time. Makes people aware that by looking at her we couldn't tell that. We do need more donor,s.

    Report this comment

    paula bell

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • Martha you are a disgrace! Do you not know when is not a good time to keep your mouth SHUT. I love you kerry, don't worry about idiots like her! Maybe one day if she is in your situation she will remeber this comment. I HOPE YOU DO YOU DISGUSTING PERSON AND YOU FEEL GUILTY. Kerry is the best sister in the world mwah xxxxxx

    Report this comment

    Kimberley Thorpe

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

  • I don't want to detract from this poor girl's disease, but we are all mortal and we all face an unknown life span dictated by the fates. People are run over, die in fires, get killed by lunatics, get cancer, get blown up by terrorists or commit suicide every day. Unlike other animals, we know that our lives are short and fleeting and that is the tragedy of the human condition. We should all live each day as if it is our last because one day, we'll be right ...

    Report this comment

    martha farquhar

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

  • Martha, EVERYBODY knows they will die at some point. I fail to see how you can detract from Kerry's situation by saying something so ridiculous. Like she says, something could happen but you don't know about it 'til it does. Knowing that it will happen unless you can have a transplant is completely different. Kerry, we all wish you all the very best luck in finding a transplant and living the life to the full.

    Report this comment

    tophatt

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The school is one of around 50 in Suffolk where some of the world’s best cyclists will fly past on Friday, September 8 when Britain’s premier road cycling race takes over the county.

A man was airlifted to hospital in a “serious but stable” condition last night after he was involved in a crash in Suffolk.

A charity ball celebrating the 100th anniversary of a disability charity has raised more than £5,700.

Ipswich-based business lender Fleximize has raised £4,020 for the homeless with a stand-up comedy night.

Sandra Mayhew, who lost her son Stephen and daughter Sonia, wanted to thank staff for the “brilliant” care they gave her children before they passed away.

CrossFit-ISC in Ipswich will be inviting visitors of Suffolk Show 2017 to come and try out the popular sport.

Police are appealing for information to help find a 42-year-old man from Ipswich.

Rail users travelling between London Liverpool Street and stations in East Anglia are facing delays due to a signalling fault in London and a problem at level crossings on the line towards Norwich.

A 91-year-old man from Suffolk is gearing up to take an 120ft charity plunge down Ipswich Hospital’s maternity block – a challenge he hopes to complete in his Spiderman suit.

“A dreadful, appalling and evil crime” - and it is happening on our doorstep.

Most read

Most commented

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24