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Weeks after her battle for wonder drug, cystic fibrosis sufferer Nicole Adams faces coronavirus menace in Northern Ireland

Nicole's precautions as she bids to avoid killer infection

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Nicole’s condition means catching the coronavirus could be a ‘death sentence’

Nicole’s condition means catching the coronavirus could be a ‘death sentence’

Stephen Hamilton

Nicole’s condition means catching the coronavirus could be a ‘death sentence’

A cystic fibrosis sufferer who recently won a life and death struggle for a drug not yet available in Northern Ireland is now having to make big changes to stay safe amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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 life-saving drugs on compassionate grounds.

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 illness.

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

Nicole, her mother Jan (62) and brother Lee (30) launched a media campaign for access to triple combination therapy drug Trikafta after Nicole was originally told she could not have the medication.

Nicole was finally granted Trikafta on December 21 and since then her recovery has been rapid.

Within two weeks she was well enough to be discharged from hospital.

Nicole was diagnosed with CF when she was just six weeks old and then contracted an airborne disease, burkholderia cepacia, while in Thailand in 2014.

Trikafta has not yet been approved for use in Northern Ireland.

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Nicole’s condition means catching the coronavirus could be a ‘death sentence’

Nicole’s condition means catching the coronavirus could be a ‘death sentence’

Nicole’s condition means catching the coronavirus could be a ‘death sentence’

Now, amid the ongoing threat from coronavirus, Nicole says she is thinking ahead before she goes out every day and is taking precautions such as wearing a face mask at all times when she leaves the house.

"When people say that having coronavirus is no different to catching the cold or flu it's like a wee stab in the heart, because it's like a death sentence for people like me," she said.

"I had the flu when I was in hospital and that really set me back in terms of my recovery.

"Then when I came out and my friends starting visiting me at home I caught it again and very nearly ended up back in hospital, so I know how easy it is for me to become seriously ill again."

Nicole was due to travel to Liverpool this weekend with her boyfriend, professional boxer Ciaran McVarnock, but has decided against the trip due to the increased risk of catching coronavirus.

"I'm not taking any chances at the moment and being really cautious about everything.

"I'm worried about myself right now but also my 95-year-old granny, who I'm staying away from at the moment. I'm trying not to hug or shake hands with anybody and taking hand sanitiser with me everywhere I go.

"The message for my family and friends for now is this: if you're ill please don't come near me.

"Ciaran is going to have to stay away for a few days when he gets back after the weekend in Liverpool until we see how he's feeling, just to be on the safe side.

"That's the reality of life for people like me for the foreseeable future."

Belfast Telegraph