A SCHOOLGIRL is enjoying a “remarkable” transformation in her health, after becoming one of the first children in Britain to receive a new treatment for cystic fibrosis on the NHS.
Calico Priddle, from Southend, was just two weeks old when she was diagnosed with the disorder in 2012, as part of her standard health screening checks as a newborn.
For her whole life the nine-year-old has taken daily medication, and had regular chest physiotherapy and courses of antibiotics.
But in November, after feeling continuously out of breath, she was admitted to hospital where her lung function was found to be just 46 per cent.
She has now begun taking the drug Kaftrio - and after only one month she now has a lung function of 110 per cent.
Her mum Claire Priddle said the change has been remarkable.
She said: “Calico has more energy than ever, running and being active was always difficult but now she doesn’t stop, like an average nine-year-old.
“We hope this gives other families encouragement, as it is remarkable to see the change in Calico.
“She even told me this last week ‘I feel like I have never had cystic fibrosis, and that now I am normal. I used to feel full of illness all the time and could never get away from it, even to sleep.’
“It is amazing.”
Cystic fibrosis is a condition that mostly affects mostly the lungs, but also other organs including the pancreas, liver, and kidneys. Long-term issues include difficulty breathing, and it affects around 10,600 people in the UK.
The NHS announced in January that hundreds of children were set to benefit from the new treatment, after the health service secured a deal to buy Kaftrio.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the drug significantly improves lung function, helping people breathe more easily and enhancing the quality of life.
The late Southend West MP Sir David Amess was a long-time campaigner for people with cystic fibrosis, campaigning for access to drugs like Kaftrio.
Mrs Priddle said: “Sir David led a campaign for the families in his constituency at the time when new medication had not been accepted or funded by the NHS.
“Seeing his publicly supporting families, including us, was fantastic, he was a wonderful, caring and kind man.”