Ipswich: Kerry’s story inspires surge in donors

IPSWICH: Kerry Thorpe has always dreamed of making a difference.

The brave 20-year-old, who needs a life-saving lung transplant, touched the hearts of town residents when her heartwarming story appeared in The Evening Star last week.

But today she told of her delight after discovering that hordes of people had signed up to the donor list after hearing her story.

She said she was “delighted” by the thought that she was helping to save lives.

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

Kerry, of Dover Road, Ipswich, now faces a race against time to find a life-saving double lung transplant.

She is currently fighting to remain as healthy as possible so she can be added to the transplant waiting list.

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“It has been amazing, I never expected to have had this much of an impact.

“A number of people who had thought about being a donor but hadn’t actually signed up, heard my story and have said it helped them to make the decision to sign the donor register.

“I am so pleased because I wanted people to understand about what cystic fibrosis was, why I needed a transplant and how important it is to be a donor, the amount of lives that can be saved is incredible.

“I always said I wanted to try to help, however big or small, so that people in the future who are waiting for a transplant will not be faced with the uncertainty that I 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.

Her life is a cycle of medications, treatments and hospital visits, but she is determined to remain positive and fight the disease head-on.

After attending a recent hospital assessment, the inspirational young woman 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.

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

n This year’s Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball will raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The ball will be held at the Corn Exchange on Friday, June 17. If you are interested in tickets for 2011, please contact the mayor’s secretary Christine Christensen on 01473 432641.

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 eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk