If you’re able to help, this trial could change lives

STEVE CANAVAN: Take note of why I love this country so much

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It’s been a tough time for charities. As people juggle household budgets, donations have had to be put on hold. The result is that vital income is being lost and important projects are being put in jeopardy.

Today we report on the plight of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which has already raised more than £30m to fund innovative gene therapy research but is now looking at a financial shortfall that could lead to a trial being abandoned.

There is a optimism that the trial might lead to extended life expectancy and reduce the amount of time those with the condition need to spend in hospital.

So far the UK CF Gene Therapy Consortium, funded by the CF Trust, has spent 10 years on the project. Now it is ready to test gene therapy on patients, but can only do so if £6m is found by the end of this month.

This is ground-breaking science that could change lives. So it is not surprising that Sue Kruk From Hayling Island, whose sons were both born with cystic fibrosis, is urging people to get behind the appeal.

In the Family Life section she says: ‘It will be tragic if future generations have to suffer for a relatively small shortfall in funding now.’

Gene therapy has come too late to help her eldest son, Ziggy, who died in 2001. But his brother, Xavi, now 41, is keen for the trial to go ahead and hopes it can help others diagnosed with the condition.

Past experience has shown us that our readers are among the most generous and warm-hearted people you could hope to find.

Just one example is on page three today, where we tell how eight-year-old Alicia Pannell from Gosport now has a new £5,200 chair thanks to the kindness of the local community.

Alicia, who suffers from water on the brain, sleep disturbance and epilepsy and is visually- impaired, outgrew her old chair and is much more comfortable.

In the case of the CF Trust and its appeal, sadly there is no magic wand. Six million pounds is a lot of money and there is less than a month to find it.

But if you feel you can help, your money could be vital in changing lives for the better.