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Otley charity Hang on to a Dream helps Iona hit funding target
A teenager is to get vital oxygen equipment to help her breathe after a charity came to her aid.
Seventeen-year-old Iona Kesteven, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, needed £4,000 for a portable oxygen cylinder which will help her to lead a more normal life.
Now the money has been raised after an appeal in the Wharfedale Observer.
Iona’s former boss Nick Moscovitch raised around £1,500 when he put himself through the gruelling Tough Mudder obstacle course, and an Otley charity has come forward with the rest after reading his appeal for help.
Nick was contacted by Otley councillor Nigel Francis, who runs the charity Hang on to a Dream and who offered to make up the balance.
Iona, who struggles to walk even the shortest distances because of difficulty breathing, was overwhelmed when Nick told her the good news.
“I was absolutely ecstatic. I was so happy,” she said. “I can’t thank them both enough.”
But her happiness was marred when she was taken for a meal to celebrate and had to be rushed to hospital after she began coughing up blood.
“It was my birthday the next day and that really upset me,” she said.
Since then she has been on an intravenous drip and expects to be on it for another week.
Iona, who is studying A levels at Horsforth School, used to work as a Saturday girl at Nick’s hair salon, but was unable to continue as her condition deteriorated and she began to cough up blood.
Despite her serious health problems and only 40 per cent attendance at school, she gained a string of B and C grades at GSCE and is hoping to become a photographer.
The teenager, who married her boyfriend Laurie in May, still lives at home with her mum, who is her full-time carer.
Although she has an oxygen cylinder at home it is big and heavy and cannot be carried around. The portable cylinder will give her freedom to do some of the things teenagers usually take for granted.
“I am getting to the point now where I am struggling to walk down the road. I went shopping on Saturday and literally only had to walk about 200 yards and my husband had to piggy back me because I couldn’t walk any further,” she said.
Iona is now considering applying to go on the list for a lung transplant.
“I think the way I am going I probably will have to go on it at some point,” she said. “It may even be that I have to go on it this year.”