It started with a cough...
Anisa hadn't heard of APF until someone she loved became ill, and that person was her beloved Nana, Christine Clarke. She tells us "In 2017 she developed a persistent cough which my Mum noticed first of all and thought that doesn't sound good. Mum encouraged her to go to the doctor and of course as we all do my Nana said 'yes I'll get round to it'. Her cough worsened, we continued to nag, and eventually she went". After a series of tests finally, in June 2018, Christine was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.
I remember so clearly Googling what this was, seeing that it was incurable and seeing the life expectancy, my heart broke
But Nana was a fighter and Anisa knew she would give this disease 'a run for its money' She tells us that her Nana was very matter of fact about her illness, saying to her 'You know this isn't going to get better don't you?' This attitude was probably down to her years of nursing and also a way of trying to prepare Anisa for the road ahead.
As time went on she lost her independence, she lost her appetite, she lost her zest for life but one thing she never lost was her sense of humour or love for her family
In the last months of her life Christine was on oxygen constantly with Anisa's Mum and Auntie as her carers. Sadly, on Mother's Day 2020, aged 87, Anisa's Nana suddenly declined - "she slipped away, surrounded by her loving family".
It was heart-breaking watching such a strong, vibrant, loving woman be taken away bit by bit by such a terrible disease
Anisa says this is something nobody should have to go through and this is why she wanted to try and raise some money and help raise awareness for the people who live with this illness every single day of their lives. She hopes for a better future for those who suffer with pulmonary fibrosis and also hopes more people become aware of this illness - sending her love and strength to anyone who has to go through it themselves or witness a loved one go through it.
All I wanted for my birthday was to have my Nana back, but as that wasn't possible I decided this was the best way to honour her memory and to help other people in need
Could you donate your birthday and raise much needed funds for APF just like Anisa? You can do this in a number of ways, either through Facebook or by setting up a fundraising page yourself through sites such as Just Giving, and sharing the link with your friends and family. And if you need help just drop us an email