Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Katie, 14, faces lung donor wait

15:40 03 October 2012

Brave teenager Katie Gammon, 14, and mum Angie Hart are urging people to join the organ donor register.

Brave teenager Katie Gammon, 14, and mum Angie Hart are urging people to join the organ donor register.

Archant

Teenager’s family urges people to join the organ donor register.

"It’s so important that people sign the donor register today – I want this little girl to get new lungs."

THE family of a seriously ill Barnstaple teenager on a long waiting list for a double lung transplant is urging people to sign the organ donor register – today.

Katie Gammon, 14, enjoyed a normal childhood despite being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby.

But since her health began to deteriorate in 2010 she has lost weight and struggles to breathe with just 16 per cent of her lungs fully functioning.

Katie was put on the transplant waiting list four months ago and now faces an agonising and desperate wait for life-saving surgery.

Transplant waiting list

According to the latest statistics, there are currently 215 people in the UK awaiting a lung transplant, with 17 of those under the age of 18. Only one in three people have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register.

The Park Community School student hopes to be able to sit her GCSEs next year but has not been able to go to school since February this year.

She now relies on a machine to provide around-the-clock oxygen and uses a wheelchair to enjoy even the simplest of teenage pleasures, such a trip to the shops with her friends.

Cystic fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, and is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases.

According to the latest statistics, there are currently 215 people in the UK awaiting a lung transplant, with 17 of those under the age of 18.

Only one in three people have signed the NHS Organ Donor Register, something Katie’s family is campaigning hard to change.

They recently spent the weekend at the Green Lanes Shopping Centre, urging shoppers to sign the register and promoting the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Mum Angie Hart told the Gazette: “Katie needs new lungs as soon as possible – someone of the same height and same blood group.

“It’s so important that people sign the donor register today – I want this little girl to get new lungs.”

Sister Louise added: “I just get the feeling that we’re going to get the call this Christmas – that Katie will get her new lungs and be able to breathe properly and walk with her baby nephew.”

Just two weeks ago, Katie learned the devastating news that her 15-year-old friend had lost her long battle with cystic fibrosis just hours after her family had made a desperate appeal for a lung transplant.

She had become good friends with Birmingham teenager Lucy Wilton, after they met on Facebook.

But while Katie’s lungs make life a daily struggle, the teenager is all heart when it comes to bravely facing up to the problems brought on by her illness.

She is hoping to raise £1,600 to buy a mobility scooter to regain some of her independence and has organised a sponsored walk along the Tarka Trail, taking place on Saturday, October 27.

She said: “I can’t really walk very far and need a wheelchair to get around in. With an electric wheelchair it will be easier as I’ll be able to go off on my own without needing someone to push me.

“I did a sponsored walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust two years ago and raised £1,500.

“Any money left over will be donated to the Caroline Thorpe ward at North Devon District Hospital.”

Katie, who is taking part in the walk using a mobility scooter being loaned by the Braunton Mobility Centre, is urging people to join her on the walk from the Civic Centre to the Braunton Inn and back.

More than 130 people have already signed up to take part in the event on a specially-created Facebook page called ‘Tarka Walk’.

The walk is £6 for adults and £2 for children. All registered participants will be given a free T-shirt and sponsor forms.

For more information or to get involved, telephone Angie Hart on 07557 441761.

The North Devon Gazette is supporting Katie’s family’s appeal to encourage more people to register as an organ donor.

To sign up, log on to the donor service website at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or telephone 0300 1232323.

Related articles

1 comment

  • I am listed for a double lung transplant at Papworth. I have a 2 year old and have been told I will never see her start school without a transplant. I did not know I had a heartlung problem until she was 8 months old when I had heart failure.

    Report this comment

    Kristy Richardson

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

Other News Stories

Jessie Prentice on her 104th birthday with daughter-in-law Brenda Prentice, grandson Graham Prentice and eldest son Peter Prentice.

Jessie Prentice - who was featured in the Gazette on her birthday last month - has died at the age of 104 in Westward Ho!

Read more
12:54
The inquest was heard at County Hall in Exeter. Picture: Terry Ife

Inquest hears that amateur rider landed on wooden pole

Read more
The seals being released at Combe Martin.

Skeletor, Danger Mouse, Trixie, Lion-O, Dougall and Florence were released back into the ocean after being nursed back to health.

Read more
09:43
The Braunton Police Station building has been bought by the parish council.

New Braunton work hub in old police station building will house four long term tenants plus six ‘hot desks’

Read more
Matt Whittaker and John Eeles outside Torrington Town Hall.

Round The Square festival in Torrington will have a mixture of local and international acts as it brings music, dance, theatre and the arts to town.

Read more
Storm Doris is coming. Picture: Westward Ho!

A yellow warning is in place tomorrow (Thursday) for North Devon and the Met Office predicts ‘very strong winds’.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00
Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Igor Zhuravlov

With NASA set to present new findings on exoplants, we’re asking the people of Devon if they believe there is life out there. Take part in our poll here.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:40

Restoration crews have discovered an ancient peacock drawing on timbers at The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter

Read more
Yesterday, 14:21
NDDH and the county council are working together to manage traffic.

Devon County Council is working with North Devon Hospital to try to ease congestion due to works on the North Road junction.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:44
Ruibbish would be stored at Brynsworthy then taken elsewhere

New Barnstaple centre would see rubbish collected, bulked up and then taken elsewhere

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications