| 10.8°C Belfast

Supporters of cystic fibrosis battler Nicole Adams have a ball at fundraising match

Close

Nicole Adams and Ciaran McVarnock present the £9,467 proceeds of their charity football match to Cystic Fibrosis Trust ambassador Liam McHugh

Nicole Adams and Ciaran McVarnock present the £9,467 proceeds of their charity football match to Cystic Fibrosis Trust ambassador Liam McHugh

Nicole Adams and Ciaran McVarnock present the £9,467 proceeds of their charity football match to Cystic Fibrosis Trust ambassador Liam McHugh

Cystic fibrosis (CF) sufferer Nicole Adams and her family have raised more than £9,000 to help others fighting the disease.

The cash was raised at a special charity football match earlier this month, involving some of Northern Ireland's biggest sporting stars, to help shine the spotlight on the challenges endured by people with CF.

The line-up at Crusaders FC's Seaview ground included boxers Paddy Barnes and Carl Frampton, former Linfield captain Winkie Murphy and former Northern Ireland winger Keith Gillespie.

Comedian Shane Todd and North Belfast MP John Finucane also showed their support for the charity match organised by Nicole's boyfriend, professional boxer Ciaran McVarnock.

Nicole (28) 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.

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.

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

Close

Nicole in hospital

Nicole in hospital

Nicole in hospital

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 contracted an airborne disease, burkholderia cepacia, while in Thailand in 2014.

The charity football match on February 9 was the biggest CF fundraiser ever held here.

It not only raised much-needed money for research and to help fund treatments for people living with the condition, it also highlighted that sufferers can't always access life-saving medication.

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

Ciaran (27) is now planning a charity skydive with proceeds going towards researching all the life-saving drugs for people with CF, which he says has become his "life and passion".

"We want to keep fighting until everyone with cystic fibrosis has access to Trikafta," Ciaran said.

"What it has done for Nicole has turned her whole life around and it's all thanks to three little tablets every day. She is still recovering but is back at the gym this week and when you compare that to where she was at Christmas, it's just unbelievable.

"The amount of money we raised - £9,467 - was incredible. We are planning to hold the same event again next year but in the summer instead so the weather might be better and we want to sell out Seaview."

Ciaran has now returned to his boxing career, which was on hold while Nicole was in hospital, with fights planned in May and July in Manchester.

His skydive takes place on April 26. Donations can be made by visiting the JustGiving page here.

Belfast Telegraph