THE mother of three sisters from Winterbourne Earls who all have the life-threatening condition cystic fibrosis has appealed for more people to think about signing the organ donor register.
Cheryl Paddock’s 14-year-old daughter Jessica, the most seriously affected by the condition, needs to use a wheelchair and is on oxygen 24 hours a day.
She is on the waiting list for a lifesaving lung transplant but her parents say they are “living on borrowed time”.
Mrs Paddock, from Winterbourne Earls, said: “Every day we go to bed wondering if this will be the night we get the call,” she said.
“We just have to hope.”
Jessica’s sisters, Abigail, 15, and four-year-old Summer also have the lung condition.
“Abigail was three and Jessica was two and a half when they were diagnosed, so much of the damage had already been done,” said Mrs Paddock, 41.
“These days the prognosis is better but there still needs to be more funding and research. It is an invisible illness but what the girls have to go through breaks my heart.
“And I would urge everyone to become an organ donor – I think it should become an opt-out system – because it would make all the difference to a family like ours.”
Jessica, who dreams of becoming a lawyer, is educated at Salisbury District Hospital’s school because she spends so much time there.
But she and her sisters, along with their father Andy, will be cheering on Mrs Paddock as she takes part in the Stars Appeal Walk for Wards at Wilton House on June 22 to say thank you for the care all three girls receive. Jessica has even made T-shirts for her mother’s team The Salty Angels, which includes friends Laura Brown, Lisa Wild, Jane Mealing and Birgit Smith.
She has also set up a Facebook page called The Girl Who Coughs A Lot to raise awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Meanwhile Abigail is preparing to sit her GCSE exams this summer and plans to study health and social care at Wiltshire College.
She has spent about 50 per cent of the last two years in hospital and the other half at St Edmund’s School and is looking forward to her upcoming prom night.
Summer attends Bourne Valley Nursery and is starting school in September. She also spends lots of time at the children’s ward but is benefitting from an early diagnosis and advances in treatment.
“The hospital has become our second home and the staff our second family,” said Mrs Paddock. “They are all wonderful and go way above and beyond to help our girls and this is our way of thanking them.”
To sponsor Mrs Paddock go to justgiving.com/cheryl paddock. To sign up for Walk for Wards visit starsappeal.org.