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Cystic fibrosis patient Nicole Adams raises cash for hospital unit that saved her life

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Shielding: Nicole Adams

Shielding: Nicole Adams

Shielding: Nicole Adams

A cystic fibrosis (CF) sufferer who is among tens of thousands of people shielding from Covid-19 has designed a range of clothing and merchandise to thank the medics who treated her during her near-death struggle for a lifesaving drug.

Nicole Adams (28) from Newtownabbey was left fighting for her life last December but has enjoyed a miraculous turnaround in her health after she was granted essential medication on compassionate grounds.

While a number of lockdown restrictions were lifted on Monday, it will mean very little difference to the current way of life for Nicole and over 80,000 other local people who were told to shield or cocoon themselves during the crisis.

Coronavirus is much more of a threat to people in high risk groups such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions like Nicole, who is still recovering from her recent serious CF-related illness.

At her lowest point the former gymnast and cheerleader was on oxygen 24 hours a day at Belfast City Hospital.

Her family launched a campaign for access to triple combination therapy drug Trikafta after Nicole was originally told she could not have the medication.

She was finally granted Trikafta on December 21 and with a new lease of life on the cards, 2020 was set to be a year full of fresh opportunities for Nicole and her boyfriend, professional boxer Ciaran McVarnock.

The doctors and nurses who looked after me are very much in my thoughts at the moment as they battle this virus so I just want to do what I can to help Nicole Adams

Instead she is now into week 11 of shielding and her only glimpses of the outside world are brief outings around her estate early in the morning or late at night to walk her three-year-old Yorkshire terrier Chase.

But Nicole has been using her lockdown time productively, designing a range of T-shirts, hoodies, mugs and keyrings in a bid to raise funds for CF awareness.

She started the brand 'nicole65roses' as a tribute to all those living with a chronic illness, mental health issues or "anything in their life with the potential to drag them down".

"My whole life has changed and while Trikafta is not a cure, it's definitely the closest thing.

"I wanted to thank the CF team at the City Hospital who worked so hard to keep me here in the darkest days of my life, when I was at my most critical.

"We have raised over £800 for far as £5 from every order made is donated to their unit, which is so underfunded," Nicole said.

"The doctors and nurses who looked after me are very much in my thoughts at the moment as they battle this virus so I just want to do what I can to help."

Given her condition, Nicole fears it will be several more months before she is able to leave her home again.

"I began shielding several weeks before the lockdown was announced and since there is no timeframe about how long this will go on for I think it could be at least October before I get out again.

"The first few weeks were okay as Amazon and Netflix kept me busy and the good weather helped massively too, but I'm starting to get fed up now."

She added: "I just hope that most people continue to abide by the social distancing rules.

"Those who don't will know all about it if something happens to them or their loved ones.

"It's very silly what they're doing and it will prolong all of this for people like me."

Belfast Telegraph