A new awareness campaign aims to show people how difficult it can be to live with cystic fibrosis (CF).
CF is Ireland's most common life-threatening inherited disease. There are around 1,200 people in Ireland with CF and this country has the highest prevalence and the most severe types of CF in the world.
CF affects the regulation of absorption and secretion of salt and water in various parts of the body including the lungs, pancreas and gastrointestinal tracts. This defect inhibits the flow of salt and water through the body's cells, causing a build-up of thick, sticky mucus, which can clog airways and harbour harmful bacteria.
Symptoms reported by people with CF vary significantly in severity from mild to debilitating. The most common symptom is recurrent chest infections, which result in lung damage. The majority of CF-related deaths are due to respiratory failure.
‘Fight to Breathe' is a new 60-second cinema ad that graphically illustrates how difficult it can be for people with CF to breathe. The ad will run in 73 cinemas nationwide over the next six weeks and was launched by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (CFI).
"The average person takes a breath 16 times a minute, but it's something that for most of us we scarcely notice. It just happens. However, a person with CF often has to fight to breathe. That's their daily reality - it doesn't just naturally happen," commented CFI chief executive, Philip Watt.
He explained that every day, it can take up to four hours of chest physiotherapy, inhalers, nebulisers and medications ‘just to make things bearable'.
"This new advertisement makes life with CF very real and personal, and brings home to people in a very simple, yet compelling way, how difficult it can be," Mr Watt noted.
The ad features Edelle Collins from Castleknock in Dublin who has CF and it was launched with the help of former Olympic boxer, Michael Carruth.
"For me, jumping into a ring and fighting for survival was a choice. The sad reality is that for people with CF, there is no choice. Life is a constant battle for survival.
"The campaign asks us to step into their shoes and in just 60 seconds, we soon realise how the normal breathing we perhaps take for granted, is anything but normal for a person with CF as they struggle to deal with mucus, coughing, and shortness of breath," Mr Carruth said.
As part of the campaign, cinema goers will have the opportunity to support the work of CFI by texting FightCF to50300 to donate €4. You can also donate online at www.cfireland.ie
The ad is being shown in cinemas free of charge by Wide Eye Media. It can be viewed here
*Pictured at the launch of the ‘Fight to Breathe' campaign are former Olympic boxer Michael Carruth and Edelle Collins who has CF