A cystic fibrosis patient whose transplanted lungs are failing will celebrate the third anniversary of her operation with a 100km cycle ride on Easter Sunday – in her garden.
Pippa Erskine, 30, from Battersea, will give thanks to her donor and to raise both awareness and funds for the two hospitals that saved her life – Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge and The Brompton in South Kensington.
The ride, initially planned to take place on the roads when conceived a year ago, has had to be adapted due to the coronavirus outbreak as she is one of 1.5million people advised to ‘shield’ themselves from the disease by not going out of the house at all.
Pippa, pictured above, has been leant a turbo trainer by a friend, and with help of the team at cycling app RGT Cycling, will ride the actual route planned – with all its ups and downs. She will pedal on the same bike she has trained on – virtually, from the safety of her garden.
She is going ahead amid lockdown even though she was told in January – a month after she got married – her lungs are being rejected by her body and will eventually fail.
Pippa thinks she can raise £3,000 from both the ride and a raffle, £1,000 for every year she has enjoyed thanks to the gift of a second chance through her transplant – but hopes to smash this target.
She said: “While it may not be the social celebratory occasion planned, anyone with a turbo trainer can actually join me on the ride virtually, via the RGT app. The hope is that others, both in the UK and maybe even further afield, might be inclined to get involved, too, and support the cause.
“Those who don’t have access to a turbo trainer can obviously also still support by donating via Just Giving or by offering motivation via social media posts on the day.”
Pippa has also organised a charity raffle on Instagram at @nwcielungaversaryraffle, with 160 prizes donated by businesses across the UK.
Pippa said: “At the moment thankfully I am not hugely feeling the impact of this diagnosis , but with no cure for chronic rejection, I am now even more determined than ever to make the most of the time that I have, including this challenging ride.”
She had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a lung condition which can make it hard to breathe, at the age of two. But a strict diet and exercise routine meant that, other than twice yearly hospital visits, she did not feel the effects until she was at university.
She went on the transplant list at Papworth in November 2016, while still working full time in PR.
But in Feb 2017 she caught a bug that wouldn’t shift, her lung function plummeted and she became too sick even for the operation. She was back on the waiting list that April and had surgery on April 14 – and was discharged just 13 days later.
She was hit by cancer in the first six months, due to her anti-rejection medication, which meant more hospital trips and medication.
She started blog here to help other CF patients with the eating guidelines. She hopes it will become a book at some stage.
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