As a youngster, she helped establish a life-saving respiratory unit which treated thousands of children – including those suffering from the genetic condition she battles herself.
Now, approaching the age of 30, cystic fibrosis sufferer Jessica Spoor is facing up to worsening health and the possibility of a lung transplant.
But she’s refusing to let that stop her to raise more cash for the NHS services that have supported her for much of her life, turning her own birthday celebrations into a huge fundraising opportunity.
Originally from Stocksfield, Northumberland, Jessica spent time in Newcastle’s RVI as a child, after persistent chest infections and low weight were discovered to be symptoms of cystic fibrosis (CF).
Grateful for the treatment which enabled their daughter to enjoy life as an ordinary teenager, Jessica’s parents dedicated themselves to raising cash for the Puffin Appeal, the fund which aimed to raise £2m to build the respiratory unit which now sits in the Great North Children’s Hospital at the RVI, with dad Mark acting as a trustee for the charity.
And Jessica joined in, even battling her lung problems to raise thousands of pounds as a teenager by completing the Great North Run.
Moving to Leeds in 2016, she’s enjoyed a full and active life, but over the last year or so her health has deteriorated, forcing her to leave her job at Asda and consider drastic surgery.
Jessica said: “As you get older it gets worse and worse, which is why I’m now undergoing assessment for a lung transplant.
“It can be quite a lot to manage: every day I have to do doses of treatment, take tablets, use nebulisers for my lungs, exercise. I take IV antibiotics which I give myself at home.
“I’m hoping to get on the list for the transplant because then I can start living my normal life again.
“CF is something I’ve always known I had, I was in and out of hospital from a young age, but it doesn’t really feel like you’ve got a life-limiting disease until it gets worse like this.”
Adventurous Jessica loves to Travel the world, and says she hopes to get back to globe-trotting if a lung transplant can help improve her condition, with New Zealand the next country on her list.
For now, she’s going back to her fundraising roots. After friends and family persuaded her to throw a 30th birthday party, she decided to use the event to raise cash for ward J6 at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, where she’s been receiving treatment. With the event itself still to come, she’s already collected over £4,000 for the worthy cause.
“I’ve spent so much time in hospital this year, I wanted to give something back to the ward, because I know how important what they do is,” she said.
“I feel like I was initially forced into having a party, but I think it will be really good and I do want to raise as much as possible.”
Jessica’s childhood friend Jade Hobbs, who works for the NHS in Gateshead, helped start the fundraising bid. She said she’d wanted to help her “hugely inspirational” pal raise the cash to mark the special birthday in recognition of the strength with which she’s tackled the health problems thrown at her.
She said: “Jessica is so kind hearted, and would do anything for her family and friends. I’ve known her since primary school, and she’s always had such a strong, positive, and no-nonsense attitude towards CF.”
Jessica turns 30 on January 12, with an auction and other fundraising events taking place during her party at Banyan Bar, in Leeds.
Jessica and Jade are collecting donations for the hospital at: https://www.gofundme.com/fundraiser-for-ward-j6-st-james039s-hospital-leeds
Source : Chroniclelive