max temp: 7°C

min temp: 4°C


Ipswich: Sisters facing a daily battle for every breath they take

15:00 26 March 2013

David Robinson of Ipswich has five children, three of which suffer from cystic fibrosis. 
David pictured with Spring, Sophie, and Scarlett

David Robinson of Ipswich has five children, three of which suffer from cystic fibrosis. David pictured with Spring, Sophie, and Scarlett

DAILY physiotherapy, a cocktail of drugs and regular hospital admissions.


That’s what siblings Sophie, 15, Scarlett, four, and two-year-old Spring Robinson endure every day in their battle against cystic fibrosis (CF).

Now parents Dawn and David Robinson, of Clump Field, Ipswich, are trying to raise £10,000 to buy a physiotherapy vest, which will help their daughters breathe more easily.

Mum-of-five Mrs Robinson, 35, said: “Unfortunately we carry a rare gene for cystic fibrosis despite no-one in our family having had the disease before so it was a shock when Sophie was diagnosed aged eight.

“Scarlett was diagnosed at four weeks and spent the first few weeks fighting for her life in intensive care in hospital while Spring was one-and-a-half when she was diagnosed.

“It is normally detected with heel prick tests and although Scarlett’s came back negative we knew as parents she had the signs of cystic fibrosis.”

The couple, who also have children Summer, nine, and Declan, eight, bought a nebuliser last Christmas which the girls use twice daily. Mr Robinson, 37, a HGV driver, said: “We need to get Spring another chamber for the nebuliser as well as filters to last a year.

“Ultimately we’d like to get a physio vest, which costs around £10,000, to share between Scarlett and Spring.

“It vibrates the lungs to move the secretions around and help improve their breathing.”

Cystic Fibrosis

It is caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the body’s cells.

It affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus making it hard to breathe and digest food.

More than 9,000 people in the UK have the condition

Currently half of the CF population will live past 41 years of age, and improvements in treatments mean a baby born today is expected to live even longer.

The girls have regular clinic appointments, check-ups and courses of antibiotics given intravenously in hospital and are on the lung transplant list.

Mrs Robinson said: “You have to get to the stage where you need new lungs before you can be put on the transplant list. It’s when your lung function gets below a certain threshold.

“We were told the other week at hospital that Sophie could live into her 30s to 40s but we are still only in our 30s and it’s absolutely awful to have to think about that possibility.

“We try not to think about it and take every day as it comes and whatever is thrown at us.”

Mrs Robinson said each of her children deal with their condition differently.

Sophie, a pupil at Suffolk New Academy, has started talking to other CF sufferers online and doing more research into her illness.

“Spring just takes it in her stride and gets on with it,” she added. “Scarlett finds it more difficult because she has been through so much with so many hospital stays already.”

The couple also want to help other families facing a similar plight to them.

“We would like any extra money to go to another family that’s waiting for a nebuliser or other medical equipment,” Mr Robinson added.

n Family friend Chris Catling will be having his hair cut off on Saturday to raise money for the Robinson’s fund and has already raised more than £500.

His hair will be donated to The Little Princess Trust to provide wigs for children suffering from hair loss.

n If you would like to help Sophie, Scarlett and Spring Robinson, cheques should be made payable to Mrs Robinson or Scarlett’s Health Fund and be sent c/o Lauren Everitt, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

Related articles



The Buttermarket Centre will become a £35m entertainment complex

Cinema giant Empire has signed up for a new £35m leisure complex being created in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, Ipswich.

The incident happened in Duke Street (stock photo)

The victim of a violent attack during a party at an Ipswich flat has described how his arm was nearly cut off with a machete.

The launch of the Bredfield Men In Pants calendar which is raising money for Macmillan.

A Suffolk village’s cheeky charity calendar is already raising thousands after doing a roaring trade on the night of its official launch.


Michael Lee in drug rehab
ES 27 08 04
EADT 28 08 04
ES 7 09 04
ES 15 09 04

An increasing number of people in Suffolk and North Essex are dying from illegal drug use, an investigation can today reveal.

The Tories have, in theory, lost their majority at Endeavour House.

The resignation of Suffolk County Council’s former education spokeswoman Lisa Chambers from the authority has formally robbed the ruling Conservative group at Endeavour House of its majority.

East Anglian Air Ambulance

A motorist who was seriously injured in a crash on the A134 on Tuesday evening has died.

RAF Marham Tornado GR4 jets have taken part in bombing missions over Iraq.

Suffolk’s MPs are likely to provide a united front in support of the Government in any new debate on bombing Syria in the wake of the Paris atrocities.

New homes planned for Poplar Lane Sproughton.

Babergh councillors are today being urged to give permission for more than 600 homes on the edge of Ipswich – despite strong opposition from the town itself.

Undated handout photo issued by ITV of Kieron Dyer who has been revealed as one of the contestants for I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! 2015. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday November 10, 2015. Also among the 10-strong line-up is Diana Princess of Wales biographer Lady Colin Campbell, fashion guru Susannah Constantine, Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley, TV personality Yvette Fielding, X Factor choreographer Brian Friedman and Union J's George Shelley. See PA story SHOWBIZ Celebrity. Photo credit should read: ITV/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Kieron Dyer was given a rare night of luxury after winning a stay at the Jungle Boutique Hotel, but tensions are running high in the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here camp.

Empty homes are being tackled

Nearly 780 homes have been identified as “long term empty” in the Suffolk Coastal area – but housing chiefs are confident they are getting to grips with the problem.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24