Lauren, 21, vows to enjoy life while she can after diagnosis of rare lung disease Obliterative Bronchiolitis

Lauren Merrin having treatment in hospital.

Lauren Merrin having treatment in hospital. - Credit: Archant

A young Ipswich woman suffering from a life-threatening lung disease is fundraising for equipment that she says will help her get her independence back.

Lauren Merrin with her boyfriend before she became ill.

Lauren Merrin with her boyfriend before she became ill. - Credit: Archant

Lauren Merrin has just been diagnosed with Obliterative Bronchiolitis (OB), a rare condition that leaves her with severe shortness of breath and requires her to use oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This restricts what she can do and where she can go as the portable oxygen canisters only last a couple of hours and are too heavy for her to carry spares.

In a bid to get her life back to the way it was, the 21-year-old is trying to raise £2,500 to buy a portable oxygen concentrator so she can leave the house, and maybe even visit her grandparents in France, without worrying about running out of oxygen.

The former Holbrook High School pupil first noticed something was wrong seven months ago when she started to get chest infections which resulted in coughing so intense she would turn blue.

Lauren with her mother.

Lauren with her mother. - Credit: Archant

“For five months, I was in excruciating pain,” Lauren said. “I felt lost as no medical professional could offer me a definitive answer. I spent my 21st birthday unable to enjoy myself as the pain was so distracting.”

Two months later, Lauren was rushed into A&E from coughing up blood, and due to the gravity of her condition, stayed in hospital for almost five weeks.

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After doctors discovered E-coli growing in her lungs, Lauren was referred to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London; and eventually diagnosed with OB.

Lauren said: “It was a relief to finally been given a diagnosis however I never anticipated that this diagnosis would be a rare and life-threatening form of lung disease. I now have a long waiting game till August to see what the next step is so in the meantime I want to enjoy life as much as I can. This money would allow me to get my independence back.”

Often confined to a wheelchair and with her hair starting to fall out, Lauren hopes the equipment will help improve her quality of life.

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