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Special vest could help Sarnia teen breathe

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Tara Jeffrey

Heather Perry just wants her 14-year-old son to breathe a little easier.

“I’ve noticed how he’s coughing more; building up more mucus in his lungs,” she said of her son Adon, who has cystic fibrosis (CF)

“So we do the chest percussions — clapping on the back and front of his lungs — but that doesn’t remove everything, unfortunately,” said the Sarnia mom.

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. CF causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas.

Perry hopes her son can one day have a physiotherapy vest to ease the burden of his daily airway clearance routine. In addition to taking 45 pills every day, Adon must endure daily chest percussions from his mom, who was sidelined by a car accident several years ago, suffering a shoulder injury that still requires surgery.

“Doing the chest percussions on him is really, really sore. And it’s not something you can do on yourself,” said Perry, who is teaching Adon’s younger sister to help with the routine.

With a physiotherapy vest those chest percussions would be no more — a huge weight lifted off the family, Perry said.

But the vest costs about $13,000 and isn’t covered for a single mom with a part-time job.

“With the vest, it pretty much shakes the crap out of him,” she said with a laugh. “But no health care provider or insurance will cover that.”

So she decided to start an online fundraising campaign, with a goal to raise $12,000. Perry has already saved up $1,000 of her own money towards the cause.

So far, the “Help Adon Breathe” campaign has raised nearly $800.

“I’m not sure we’ll be able to get to that $12,000 mark, but we’re going to see how far we can go with this,” said Perry.

“It’s not a cure by any means, but the more mucus we can shake off, and the more he can cough up and excrete from his lungs, the better.

“Because in the end,” she continued, “that’s what’s going to be fatal.”

Perry tries to stay positive knowing her son’s health is slowly deteriorating. Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure.

“He gets down sometimes, and it’s difficult to answer when he asks, ‘why me?’” said Perry. “But he’s definitely my rock. If he wasn’t so strong, I don’t think I would be.”

For more, and to donate to Adon’s online campaign, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/ni9b7g





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