Friends of 22-year-old Ipswich woman Abbie Howard who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis start organ donor appeal

Abbie Howard, who died this month after suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Abbie Howard, who died this month after suffering from cystic fibrosis. - Credit: Archant

A young Ipswich woman could have had a second chance at life if more people were willing to sign up as organ donors, her friends have said.

The 22-year-old attended Kesgrave High School.

The 22-year-old attended Kesgrave High School. - Credit: Archant

Abbie Howard died in hospital two weeks ago aged just 22 after a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.

Now her friend Kalen Hagan has started a campaign that he hopes will ensure others won’t miss out on a chance to beat life-limiting conditions.

Miss Howard died at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge before she had her consultation appointment for a lung transplant, but Mr Hagan said the process might have happened faster if organ donation was more widespread.

“We want to get everyone registered as an organ donor and we have several ideas that we want to put in place to try and make having an organ donation card an every day part of life,” said Mr Hagan, 21.

“If patients can get on the transplant list early enough it gives them a new lease of life, but with the lack of people signing up as organ donors it’s difficult to even get on the list.

“Cystic fibrosis seems to have a pattern, they can manage it until they get to their early 20s and that’s when it starts to deteriorate.

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“At that point it’s too late to put them on a transplant list because there are not enough people registering so Abbie didn’t get the chance to have that new lease of life.”

Cystic fibrosis is a condition that affects the lungs and causes a build up of sticky mucus which makes it harder for the carrier to breathe. There is no cure but a lung transplant can prolong a sufferer’s life.

Friend Kalen Hagan, who has started a campaign called The Life4Life Foundation in Abbie's memory.

Friend Kalen Hagan, who has started a campaign called The Life4Life Foundation in Abbie's memory. - Credit: Archant

Mr Hagan has launched an organisation, which he hopes to make a registered charity, called The Life4Life Foundation to highlight the importance of organ donation and to eventually fund services that will support transplant patients.

Describing Miss Howard, who attended Kesgrave High School, Mr Hagan said: “She was the most energetic, sarcastic person I had met in my life.

“She had a wicked sense of humour. To anyone else she might have come across as rude but she just got straight to the point, she never beat around the bush, she said exactly what she thought, that was Abbie.

“She was such a strong person, she never complained once about having the illness, she never pointed the blame at anyone else, she just got on with it.

“Even in her last days she was still cracking the jokes and still trying to be positive, a really energetic, strong, positive human being and an inspiration to anyone who knew her.”

Miss Howard had lived in Mr Hagan’s family home on and off for around five years and Mr Hagan said she was “like a daughter” to his mother, Tracey.

Touched by Miss Howard’s story, event organiser Matt Spink is hosting a club night at Unit 17 in Ipswich’s Cardinal Park on June 17 to help raise money for The Life4Life Foundation. Mr Spink will play grime and urban music, of which Miss Howard was a “big fan”.

To learn more about The Life4Life Foundation or to donate, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/thelife4lifefoundation