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Lauren Merrin from Shotley Gate is overwhelmed as company donates life-changing oxygen equipment

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 June 2016 | UPDATED: 11:16 20 June 2016

Lauren Merrin with her boyfriend before she became ill.

Lauren Merrin with her boyfriend before she became ill.

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"I am completely and utterly overwhelmed, this will change my life."

Lauren Merrin having treatment in hospital.Lauren Merrin having treatment in hospital.

These were the words of Lauren Merrin, of Shotley Gate, after a company came forward to offer her a piece of vital medical equipment free of charge following an appeal in the Star last week.

When the 21-year-old was diagnosed with a rare lung disease called obliterative bronchiolitis, she launched a fundraising appeal for £2,500 in order to buy a portable oxygen concentrator to help improve her quality of life.

Because Lauren’s condition requires her to use oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she previously had to carry around spare oxygen canisters or a heavy liquid oxygen bottle whenever she left the house.

This restricted what Lauren could do and where she could go as she is not strong enough to lift the liquid oxygen bottle on her own, and carrying around spare canisters is also a strain as her illness leaves her with severe shortness of breath.

But today CAIRE Inc. a Chart Industries Company, the world’s leading manufacturer for oxygen therapy systems, has offered to donate to Lauren a personalised portable oxygen concentrator based on the prescription from her physician.

The new equipment will mean Lauren can leave the house with just the concentrator in a shoulder bag and a battery.

“I am completely and utterly overwhelmed,” Lauren said. “I can’t believe it still. It will change my life and make being able to go out and do things so much easier.

“It means I can carry the concentrator myself and not worry about running out of oxygen.”

The former Holbrook High School pupil also hopes that the new equipment will allow her to visit her grandparents in France and enjoy a well-deserved holiday before she finds out what the next step in her treatment is in August.

Almost £2,000 has been donated by members of the public on Lauren’s Go Fund Me page to help fund the portable concentrator. This money will now be used on back-up oxygen canisters, extra batteries for the concentrator and other medical equipment.

“I can not even begin to thank everyone enough for there kind and generous donations and lovely messages I’ve received,” Lauren added.

Bobby Whithorne, spokesman for GoFundMe.com said: “It is great to see the community rallying around Lauren during this difficult time.

“It is so generous of CAIRE to donate a portable oxygen concentrator and we’re thrilled that this will allow her to gain her independence back and ensure her GoFundMe donations can go towards all other necessary medical equipment to help with her recovery”.

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