herald

Friday 30 September 2016

I’ll never let cystic fibrosis hold me back, but I’m lucky

Ciara Aston is campaigning for cystic fibrosis awareness
Ciara Aston is campaigning for cystic fibrosis awareness

A young woman who has bravely refused to allow cystic fibrosis restrict her life has called for greater awareness and support for the condition in Ireland.

Ciara Aston (24) travelled to Greece to visit a sea turtle protection society and worked at a marine wildlife station in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. That’s despite the fact she relies on a daily routine of inhalers, vitamins, antibiotics and digestive enzymes to keep her condition under control.

Ciara even travelled to San Diego in the US on a J1 student programme for three months.

Now, the young Cork woman has called for greater awareness of cystic fibrosis in Ireland – one in 19 people here carry the gene for the condition.

Ciara has also called for public backing for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week, which culminates today in a major national fundraising drive dubbed the “65 Roses”.

“I am one of the lucky ones,” Ciara said.

“I have been able to live a relatively normal life. I’ve been able to pursue my passions in terms of travel and work.

“I love to go horse-riding and I suppose I do have a pretty good fitness regime,” she said.

“It is important to be fit because of the condition.”

Ciara works with Amazon in Cork and said they are a wonderful firm.

When she was younger, her dream was to become a garda – but her focus now is to one day work with animals in a care role such as in a rescue home.

“I’ve had fantastic support from my family and friends over the years,” she said.

Ciara lives in Carrigaline, Co Cork with her parents, Dave and Ann, and her brother Keith (21).

Risk

“But it is also very important to have the supports there in hospitals when you need them.

“When I go to a hospital for a check up, I’m in a special room and the doctors and nurses come to me rather than the other way around,” she said.

“That is very important in terms of infection risk for cystic fibrosis patients,” she added.

The Cystic Fibrosis National Awareness Week fundraising collection takes place nationwide today with the aim of raising €65,000.

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