DEBBIE Packer has spent her whole life coping with the devastating effects of cystic fibrosis.
But that doesn’t stop the 24-year-old, who was diagnosed at just three months old, raising money to help research into the condition.
She and best friend Emma Duncan have helped bring in thousands of pounds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, from events such as cake sales, concerts and charity walks. And now they are organising a glamorous autumn ball.
The money raised will be split equally between the CF Trust and the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Southampton General Hospital.
Debbie, from Hanoverian Way in Whiteley, said: ‘It funds research to try and find a cure and to try and prolong the life span. I am really passionate that this can get cured.
‘For adults with CF, even if they did find a cure it wouldn’t stop me from having it. But for people born today it would be amazing if they could find a cure.
‘There isn’t much awareness for CF. Because people with it look healthy until they reach the end, it’s hard for people to understand the concept of it.’
The condition is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases and affects over 9,000 people in the UK.
On the outside sufferers usually look healthy. But the disease affects the internal organs, by clogging them up and making it hard to breathe and digest food.
Sufferers undergo a demanding daily treatment regime to slow the progression of the illness. There is no cure and only half of sufferers are likely to live past the age of 41.
Debbie added: ‘We’re determined that both medical care and knowledge will keep improving so that children born today with CF will have a brighter future, but also are acutely aware that it is very important to sustain and improve care and quality of life today for those adults with CF.’
Emma, 24, from Southampton, added: ‘The charity is close to my heart because I have known Debbie since I was so young.’
The ball will take place on Saturday, October 20 at the Legacy Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa in Hedge End. Tickets start at £45 each. Visit cf-ball.org.uk or call 0844 8260506.