Shotley Gate woman Lauren Merrin, 21, regains her independence after donation of vital oxygen equipment

Lauren Merrin (right) in France with her grandmother Jan and boyfriend Danny.

Lauren Merrin (right) in France with her grandmother Jan and boyfriend Danny. - Credit: Archant

A young woman suffering from a serious lung condition has been able to fulfil her dream of visiting her grandparents in France after receiving a life-changing gift.

Lauren Merrin with the SeQual Eclipse 5 portable oxygen concentrator that was donated to her by CAIR

Lauren Merrin with the SeQual Eclipse 5 portable oxygen concentrator that was donated to her by CAIRE Inc. a Chart Industries Company. - Credit: Archant

Lauren Merrin, of Shotley Gate, was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening disease called obliterative bronchiolitis last year just after her 21st birthday.

The diagnosis limited Lauren’s day-to-day life as she could not leave the house without carrying with her spare oxygen canisters or a heavy liquid oxygen bottle, which she found difficult to lift because of her symptoms.

Lauren launched a fundraising appeal for £2,500 in order to buy a portable oxygen concentrator, to help her complete daily activities more easily and perhaps even get on a plane to see her grandparents in Benest, a small village in southwestern France.

After a call for donations was published in the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times in June, a company that manufactures oxygen therapy systems came forward and offered to give Lauren the equipment she needed free of charge.

The new kit, donated by CAIRE Inc. a Chart Industries Company, will mean Lauren can leave the house for more than eight hours a day with just the portable concentrator and a battery.

The former Holbrook High School pupil said: “It means I can be more mobile and go out for longer and I’d like to say a massive, massive thank you to CAIRE Inc, they have been amazing and I’m so grateful for the donation of the concentrator.”

Most Read

And at the end of last month Lauren was finally able to make the trip across The English Channel with her boyfriend Danny to see grandparents Jan and David.

During her latest visit to the Royal Brompton Hospital, Lauren was told that her condition may stay as it is now, or could deteriorate.

Lauren added: “They have started me on some antibiotics which should help me keep bugs and viruses away hopefully but again not sure what else lies ahead will just have to wait and see and take each day as it comes.”

George Coppola, director of marketing at CAIRE Inc., said: “We wish Lauren the best of luck and happy travels.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter