It is a great privilege for me to be Aunt to my nephew Michael Mackay, who was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Mike received new lungs 11 years ago at the third attempt, having been given just weeks to live. He arrived in the early 80s when not so much was known about CF. I found out what I could and then decided to fundraise. Through the fundraising, we met a Ward Sister from Royal Brompton Hospital who suggested Mike be referred there for future treatment.

Over the years he spent many hours on Foulis Ward and following his transplant remains a regular visitor to the hospital. As a family we can never thank Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals enough for the care and treatment Mike had. The work done within these two institutions is truly mind-blowing; miracles are performed there every day by unsung heroes working for the NHS and to lose them at any time would be an grievous loss to our country.

My feelings about this are so strong that I have undertaken a number of fundraising projects, before and since, I retired from social work, from swimming a mile in a lake, organising concerts, helping arrange a garden party and in 2018 walking 125 km (approx 75 miles) on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. 

I did the Camino to mark my 70th year and raised £1090 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. This was an emotional and life-changing experience. My next project is likely to be in 2020.

CF is a genetically inherited disease, so having a family member with it affects everyone. I know I am a carrier and when my daughter became pregnant three-plus years ago it was a somewhat anxious time. Luckily my grandchildren are clear of the disease and hopefully future generations will be too.

By then I am confident a cure will be found. As for Mike, well he has his own amazing story to tell.

Before I was invited to write this blog, I had already planned that my next fundraising venture would be for Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals. I am still thinking about what to do next - anyone care to come up with a challenge?!