Ipswich: Become a donor - and give people like Kerry the precious gift of life

Ipswich: Kerry Thorpe should be looking forward to wedding her fiance – and preparing for their life together.

Instead, the pretty 20-year-old is involved in a heartbreaking race against time.

Without a double lung transplant Kerry, who suffers from cystic fibrosis (CF), has less than 18 months to live.

Today, The Evening Star, two of Suffolk’s MPs and a grieving mum who lost her daughter to CF urged people to sign up to the donor register –and do their bit to help others like Kerry get the life-saving treatment they deserve.

Diagnosed with CF at just six-months-old, Kerry is now so ill she can’t even climb the stairs on her own.

“I have to remain positive and I have to look forward to things because it’s the only way of getting through it,” said Kerry, of Dover Road.

The reality of her situation is stark – last year there were 254 patients in Suffolk waiting for new lungs – but there were less than 165 donated organs available for transplants.

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Only 20 per cent of patients receive their transplant within six months – and only 51pc undergo the operation after three years of waiting.

Kerry hopes to be added to the transplant list – something she calls the “gift of life” – after spending months keeping as healthy as possible.

“I have many friends with CF,” she said. “Some are alive, some are dead, some died without receiving their transplant, others got the gift of life, survived and are now living their lives the way those of us needing, or waiting for new lungs, can currently only dream of.

“At first I was scared, but 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.”

Nigel Pickover, editor of The Evening Star, said: “Kerry is a remarkable young woman, who should have her whole life ahead of her, and we will do all within our power to help her.

“We want Kerry’s message to ring out from America to Australia, Felixstowe to Falmouth and we are urging the public to help this delightful young woman in any way possible. On one level by joining the donor register people are not only helping in our bid to see an increase in the amount of donors, but you are also helping efforts to save lives.

“On another level who knows what the power of worldwide publicity will achieve.”

n Has Kerry Thorpe inspired you to become a donor? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstar.co.uk

n For details on how to register to donate your organs visit www.uktransplant.org.uk

n For further information on cystic fibrosis, visit www.cftrust.org.uk