herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Brave Becky who made medical history dies at the age of 20

A DUBLIN woman who received a world-first double lung transplant earlier this year has lost her battle for life.

Castleknock woman Becky Jones (20), who had cystic fibrosis, made medical history when she became the first patient with the condition to undergo a lung transplant while suffering from a drug-resistant infection called aspergillosis.

She underwent the surgery at University Hospital of South Manchester on May 29 this year, but tragically passed away on Sunday.

Becky is mourned by her parents Barry and Aisling, her brothers Jack, Jed and Ollie, and a wide circle of family and friends.

Initially after her surgery, brave Becky had been doing well and had spoken about how the procedure had changed her life.

She told of how she embarked on a "shopping spree" upon leaving hospital and she had never felt as well as she did since the surgery.

"I had forgotten how it felt to be healthy. I'm not even sure if I've ever felt this well," she said.

"I feel completely different. I can breathe again, which is amazing. Before the operation, I was on oxygen 24/7 and I felt breathless walking from place to place," she had added.

The young woman had harboured ambitions of becoming a fashion designer.

At the time, her mother Aisling spoke of her delight for Becky and how she was grateful to the surgeons who operated on her.

Becky was airlifted from her home in Dublin to the hospital in Manchester for the operation at the end of May and Aisling admitted that she and Barry spent a traumatic day while the 11-hour operation took place.

"We were told by her surgeon, Piotr Krysiak, that it was a very high-risk operation and there was a chance that she could die on the table, so naturally we were very anxious," Aisling said.

Becky had been waiting for a lung transplant for 14 months and once she developed the aspergillosis infection it made her case much more complicated.

Doctors in Tallaght didn't think it was possible for her to have an operation.

It was a Professor David Denning who suggested a lung transplant because there was no other way of treating her condition.

The transplant centre in Manchester was able to do the operation because it had the help of a specialist in aspergillosis who was prepared to treat her before and after the operation.

Becky's funeral is due to take place in the Church of Our Lady Mother of the Church in Castleknock tomorrow at 12 noon, with burial afterwards in Glasnevin cemetery.

Donations are welcome in lieu of flowers to the Mater Hospital Heart/Lung Transplant Unit.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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