Christmas joy for poorly tot Abbie

Abbie Venner from Drighlington getting her life changing vest that will help her with her illness. (w232c451)
Abbie Venner from Drighlington getting her life changing vest that will help her with her illness. (w232c451)

A Drighlington couple have declared their “Christmas has come early” after £8,000 was raised to pay for a medical vest to help treat their youngest daughter’s illness.

David and Laura Venner’s two-year-old daughter Abbie suffers from cystic fibrosis and she has to go through a daily physio routine to stop infectious mucus clogging up her lungs.

However, after an appeal in the Observer & Advertiser in April, a series of fundraising events and kind-hearted donors have helped David and Laura stump up the cash to pay for the vest.

The vest works by having a pain-free compressing effect on Abbie’s chest to rid her of mucus, significantly reducing the risk of her becoming infected and making it easier for her to breathe.

Although the vest can’t be used yet due to Abbie’s size, it is a welcome relief for the couple, who work tirelessly to keep Abbie well and happy.

David, 43, said: “Now that the jacket’s come through it’s Christmas came a week early for us.

“Even though she can’t use it yet it’s a huge relief to know that it’s there and ready to use when she does need it. We no longer have to worry about it going out of stock or not being able to get hold of it.

“Our lives will be made so much easier by this. At the moment we have to try to pin her down so she can do her physio, and trying to pin toddlers down isn’t easy - you know what they’re like. The way the jacket works means we can sit her down in front of the TV and let her play while it’s working. It will make it so much easier.”

The charity of people both in Morley and further afield has been greeted with heartfelt gratitude from the couple, who had to set about fundraising because the jacket was not available on the NHS.

A family fun day at Drighlington Tempest Constitutional Club in May and events at the Six Acres pub have helped towards the costs, as have a large number of donations through David and Laura’s justigiving page. Special thanks was offered to a gentleman from Luton, who donated £1,000 after coming across the story when he visited family in Bradford earlier this year. He told the couple that Abbie’s plight had “touched his heart”.

Laura, 32, who is Abbie’s full-time carer said: “We can’t even begin to express how grateful we are for all of the help we’ve received. We’re just overwhelmed and feel indebted to everyone. The thought of complete strangers putting in £1,000 makes you quite emotional. To be honest, this has made our Christmas. It’s magical that we’ve finally got it.”

Leftover funds will be donated to the specialist cystic fibrosis unit at Leeds General Infirmary, which Abbie still has to attend on a regular basis, and the Cystic Fybrosis Trust. And her circumstances have been a source of inspiration to Abbie’s big sister Sophie, aged 10, who has talked about being a cystic fibrosis nurse when she’s older.

Laura said: “Abbie and Sophie adore each other. Sophie’s always helping out with her medicines and routine, and she’s almost like a mini-mummy to her.”

David added: “The girls have got a great relationship. Whenever Sophie’s coming from school Abbie’s there at the safety gate wanting to see her.” And to add to what is already a brilliant Christmas for the Venners, Laura is due to have baby number three in May.