LOVING LIFE: Warwick’s Cory Fogarty ready to go in the Great Strides Walkathon for cystic fibrosis last year.
LOVING LIFE: Warwick’s Cory Fogarty ready to go in the Great Strides Walkathon for cystic fibrosis last year. Gerard Walsh

Cory lives life on the run from cystic fibrosis

CORY Fogarty looks great on the outside but deep beneath his skin is a ticking time bomb.

The Warwick teenager has the potentially lethal disease cystic fibrosis, but he's not letting it hold him back.

Cystic fibrosis is genetic, with one in four children of carriers of the gene likely to be born with the disease.

It causes serious lung infections that permanently damage the delicate tissue, diabetes and problems with the pancreas and liver.

Without a lung transplant, most CF patients will die by the time they turn 40.

Cory, 18, is a chippy-labourer with a penchant for softball and motorbikes.

He's grown up knowing how bad the disease can be but through a mixture of good planning, life choices and luck, the Toowoomba Allstars all-rounder is proving the disease does not have to a be millstone around his neck.

Unlike most patients who can spend months at a time in hospital, Cory's hospitalisation has never been more than two weeks a year. Still, the lad only has 85% lung function and a serious infection could cost him his lungs, if not his life.

"A lot of the CF people live in the city around a lot of pollution and that sort of stuff and I live out in the open on 30 acres and there's fresh air all the time, I think that's really helped me a lot," Cory said.

Cory conceded routine played an important part in staying healthy.

"I do a thing called PEP (an airway clearance therapy) twice a day - it usually takes around about 25 minutes, then I have inhaled antibiotics sometimes and I usually take salt tablets, vitamins and enzymes (which help absorb food)," he said.

"I've got a critical health condition but I don't look at it that way.

"I look at it like it's just another thing that I have to do through the day.

"Normal people get up early in the morning, go for a run or do exercise but I have to wake up a bit earlier to do my PEP and do exercise and do a bit more extra work."

Raised by his hard-working parents - his mother Rebecca is a Toowoomba real estate agent and his father Kim works for Queensland Rail - the only child said the support of family and friends was as important to his health as the many medications he takes.

Cory hopes to raise $1000 in Cystic Fibrosis Queensland's major annual fundraiser. He takes a pragmatic approach to the disease.

"It's not that critical for me - I never really think of it being life-threatening," he said.

"I don't revolve around CF, CF revolves around me."

We can all help those with CF

FOUR people in the Warwick region are living with a death sentence - and they need you.

Their main advocacy group is calling on the State Government and our community to dig deep.

As CF Queensland's major annual fundraiser bounces into its third week, the organisation's chief has called on the Palaszczuk government to reinstate funding cut by the previous state government.

Cath Parker said a $90,000 commitment from the government would pay for a specialist to visit patients in Warwick and other regional centres across the state.

There are 850 cystic fibrosis patients in Queensland.

"We have a two-pronged issue with funding," Ms Parker said.

"We need to ensure our hospitals and allied health providers are resourced in a way that is adequate to manage the complexities of CF, therefore keeping our community out of hospitals for longer and having a more active, fulfilling life.

"Also, under the Newman government, it was determined that CFQ's government funding for providing services to the community will end in December, 2015.

"CFQ received about 8% from the Queensland Government, however, removing this funding coupled with an increasing population with new needs, means that our CF community is significantly compromised.

"Cutting off the already minimal funding is short-sighted at best and deplorable at worst."

Ms Parker said an outreach dietitian would make a huge difference for patients coping with meeting their dietary requirements, including a need for high-fat and high-salt foods.

"Recently, funding has been cut for the specialist CF dietitian to accompany outreach teams to regional areas," she said.

"Due to the specialist nature of the Brisbane CF facilities, regional patients need to travel to Brisbane to receive their required tune-ups, which is inconvenient and costly, as travel subsidies do not cover the high costs for families and carers."

Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said there would be a review of the program under which CFQ had applied for funding.

"I have flagged a review of the funding program that supports non-government community health providers," he said.

"We will carefully consider the outcomes of the review."

Meanwhile, the Big Bounce, held through March, encourages residents, schools and community groups to hold Big Bounce parties or trampoline-based exercise challenges to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

CF Australia's state-branches hope to raise $65,000 from the fundraiser.

Cystic Fibrosis Queensland provides practical and emotional support for patients including respiratory equipment, physiotherapy, accommodation, counselling, parent respite programs, physical activity support, webinars, and special support for children during hospital stays and education. To join the Big Bounce visit http://www.cysticfibrosis.org.au.



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