NORTHWICH teenager Oliver Rothwell needed a lifesaving double-lung transplant last autumn after cystic fibrosis (CF) irreparably damaged his own organs, writes Anthony Harvison.
The 17-year-old, from Castle, is now making the most of his new lease of life, enrolling at Mid-Cheshire College's School of Art and Design on London Road and resuming Tae Kwon Do training.
His condition didn't really begin to deteriorate until he started at St Nicholas RC High School. An organ transplant was the only answer.
He said: 'It was risky - I could have been brain damaged or died on the operating table.
'It's not a cure and I still have to take lots of tablets because CF is in my DNA and they can't change that yet. But before the trans-
plant I wasn't really living, just existing. I've never felt better. Some days I forget that I've had the operation but then if I take a really deep breath I remember and think, 'Cool, I've got lungs to breathe with'.
'Before, I had to have physiotherapy and a lot of other things, but now I don't - I have a normal life, better than normal, in fact.'
Regarding gene therapy, Oliver said: 'It sounds amazing but it's best not to get your hopes up - since I was born doctors have been saying there will soon be a cure.'
However, he is giving his full backing to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust's Big Bounce campaign. He said: 'Without exercise I would have died a long, long time ago.
'But exercise should be a part of everyone's lives, not just people with CF.'