Two Sevenoaks parents whose children suffer from Cystic Fibrosis (CF) are lending their support to a year-long fundraiser organised by Sencio Community Leisure (SCL).
An inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system, CF has been chosen by the not-for-profit SCL as part of its annual commitment to supporting a charitable cause through a series of events and challenges involving staff, customers and the local business community.
Three young lives a week are currently lost to CF and a half of sufferers currently die before their 42nd birthday.
Alison Dillon’s 21-year-old actor son Oli was diagnosed when he was three months old and, over the years, has had a number of stays in hospital for IV antibiotics for a degenerative disease that, with every infection, brings the risk of irreversible lung damage.
“Some years back Oli caught flu and was desperately ill, losing 49 per cent of his lung function we were told he might not get back. Thankfully he did but it was a very scary time and brought the reality of CF crashing into our lives,” says Alison, who is an active campaigner for access to new medicines that are currently unavailable in the UK due to the inability of NHS England and the manufacturer to reach an agreement.
“I find it cruel that for the first time there is a medicine that can treat the root cause of CF instead of simply managing symptoms and which is available in 11 EU countries, the USA and Australia but not in England. These medicines can reduce infections by 42 per cent and hospital stays by 62 per cent.
“Keeping fit and healthy is paramount for a person with CF as it helps clear the lungs. I am therefore grateful Sencio has chosen to support the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust this year.”
SCL Wellness supervisor James Arnold suggested the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as Sencio’s charity of the year after speaking to former colleague Chris Clark, whose seven-year-old son, James, suffers from the condition.
“James was born in 2011 and was diagnosed with CF following some tests he had after he was failing to thrive and put on weight,” explains Chris.
“He was very poorly and had severe chest infections from birth. Every day we fight CF with a cocktail of medication, nebulisers and physiotherapy. Fortunately James has been ‘well’ for the past two years with no admissions but we continue to help him keep infections at bay to ensure he stays as well as possible for as long as possible.
“CF is sometimes misunderstood as a medical condition so raising awareness and funding for research and support services is absolutely critical.”
SCL staff will take part in a fundraiser on August 15 in which they’ll complete a series of challenges such as running, cycling and swimming between leisure centres in Sevenoaks, Edenbridge and Swanley (up to 18.8. miles per element of the challenge). Later in the month, SCL will host its annual charity golf day at Lullingstone Park.
To support Sencio Community Leisure’s Cystic Fibrosis fundraising, contact the gym staff at Sevenoaks, Edenbridge or White Oak (Swanley) leisure centres or Lullingstone Park Golf Course. Contact details can be found at sencio.org.uk.
For further details on the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust go to cysticfibrosis.org.uk.
August 9, 2019
Press enquiries to David Leck at Sencio Community Leisure on 01322 528580/07710 326256.
(Left to right): Alison Dillon; Chris Clark; James Arnold, Wellness supervisor, Sevenoaks Leisure Centre; Phil Wyatt, Wellness manager, Sencio Community Leisure; Lewis Balcombe, shift supervisor, Sevenoaks Leisure Centre; Jane Parish, chief executive, Sencio Community Leisure.