Honiton gran in plea for help

Liz Brown needs you to help prolong her granddaughter’s life.

A Honiton pensioner has made a desperate appeal for people in the town to rally and help prolong her granddaughter’s life - and she has organised a public information evening to explain why.

Liz Brown, 65, is devastated that pioneering research, which was expected to lead to a cure for cystic fibrosis, is in jeopardy - because of a massive shortfall in funding. Public donations nose dived just before trials were due to start.

Her 12-year-old granddaughter Sophie, of Upottery, has the disease, caused by a faulty gene, and Liz fears, without breakthrough gene therapy, Sophie and many other sufferers will develop chronic lung damage.

Echoing the sentiments of Professor Eric Alton, who is heading the research, Liz said: “This project cannot be parked. If the Cystic Fibrosis Trust does not get the funding, patients will become more unwell. Some will die.

“A huge amount of hope, effort and science has been invested in this.”

Liz, who is a founder member of the Trust’s Honiton fund-raising branch, says the economic climate does not change the fact that three young people with cystic fibrosis die in the UK every week - at a time when five babies a week are born with the disease.

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“The average life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis is currently 38,” she said. “But, if we can continue with this crucial research programme, the corrective gene can be introduced from birth.

“It will give parents hope that their baby will not suffer in the same way that many young children do at the moment.”

Earlier this month, Sophie swam with dolphins in the Algarve - an experience provided by the Make A wish Foundation.

Liz is to hold an information evening for local residents at the Heathfield Inn on August 11, from 7pm.

She said: “Before Sophie was born, my knowledge about cystic fibrosis was minimal but, as my family has had to cope with the ups and downs, my knowledge has increased and I really admire the parents who cope with all the complications that can occur.”

A fund-raising sale will take place in Lace Walk from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, July 9, and Liz would like to hear from individuals and businesses willing to help in any way.

If you can help, call Liz on (01404) 44043.

You can make a donation at the NatWest bank in Honiton or at Holly’s Hair Boutique in Black Lion Court.