The family of an “amazing and inspirational” little girl are asking for support in their appeal to buy her a medical vest that would vastly improve her quality of life.
Abbie Venner was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis just days after being born.
She has to undergo daily physio routines that prevent a thick mucus building up on her lungs and internal organs, she cannot feed properly and is fed by a feeding pump throughout the night.
Her mum Laura, who is Abbie’s full-time carer said: “In order to keep Abbie well and healthy we are needing to fundraise for a airways clearance vest by www.hillrom.co.uk.
“Unfortunately, this vest is not funded by the NHS, which means we need to raise £8,000.
“The vest will make her life a lot easier and will make our lives a bit easier. We just want every opportunity available to her. Other parents of children with CF swear by them.”
The vest will compress Abbie’s chest back and forth in a pain-free way and reduce her high risk of infection.
As well as cystic fibrosis, Abbie was born with a perforated, blocked bowel, leading to a lengthy stay in hospital, which included seven weeks in neo-natal intensive care.
Since October she has been back home, but needs daily physiotherapy exercises to help relieve the sticky secretions on her chest caused by the cystic fibrosis, which leave her struggling to breathe.
If Abbie grows an infection in her lungs it can result in needing strong two-weeks of antibiotics or being admitted to hospital for at least two weeks.
Laura, who also has a 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, said: “We live in a bit of a bubble. We can’t really go anywhere because she is so prone to infection. We were out in a restaurant and someone coughed at the other side of the room and my ears pricked up. The alarm bells started going off. It’s hard enough caring for a baby who hasn’t got cystic fibrosis, but with all the medication and physio it’s just a constant battle.
“I’m really over protective, but I have to be. One day can be different to the next - I can kind of forget about it all some days when she’s OK, but then when she’s unwell it’s like a kick in the stomach.
“It’s been a strain on the family. Sophie comes home from school and helps out when really she should be playing out with her friends.”
Abbie’s dad David works full time as general manager at Tetley’s Coaches and works long hours. Laura said: “We’re both hands on with Abbie. David goes to work at 6am and doesn’t get home until 5pm and he is up all night with her.
“That’s why we are desperate for this vest. It will relieve some of the stress on the family by keeping Abbie well, out of hospital and reduce the risk of infections.” And when Abbie does grow, the size of the vest will do too as Hillrom provide different sizes.
Laura said: “After the initial £8,000 for the machine, we will pay around £250 per year for it to be maintained and they then send out the next size when she grows out of it. She will be able to play while using it and feel normal - we just want normality to make Abbie’s life easier. It would be a dream come true. “She is a cheeky monkey and constantly happy. Even when she is poorly she still manages to crack a smile. She is truly amazing. Our inspiration.”
Anyone who would like to help can donate via www.justgiving.com/abbie-venner or text VEST71 followed by the amount to 70070. eg VEST71 £10. Anyone who has any fundraising ideas to support the Venner family, call Laura on 07596819004 or contact her via Facebook.