Dad runs for daughter
There are few things that stop Gracie, 11, from taking the sports field.
Not a broken wrist, the pouring rain or even her cystic fibrosis.
The Rothesay Bay youngster plays just about every sport going and wants nothing more than to be a normal kid.
Dad Norman McDonald is in training to run the Auckland Marathon next month for the Breath4CF fund.
Gracie was diagnosed with CF at five years old when she was sent to hospital with a chronic nagging cough.
The youngest of three children, Gracie is determined to lead a typical Kiwi childhood, to the point that even some of her closest friends have no idea she has the condition.
"She gets a bit worried about people knowing.
"She doesn't like other kids seeing her take medication, she just wants to fit in and not cause a fuss," Mr McDonald says.
"You wouldn't know she's any different, except at early morning trainings when all the other kids are in bare feet and T-shirts, she's the one in shoes and a jacket."
Hospital visits are needed twice a year so Gracie can be fitted with a PICC line for intravenous antibiotics.
Cystic Fibrosis leads to a buildup of thick mucus in the lungs and pancreas. Chronic wheezing, coughing and chest infections are common symptoms of the condition.
Mr McDonald says they have made several additions to their home to make it a CF-friendly environment.
"We're aiming to keep her as fit and healthy as possible. We've installed heat pumps, insulation and a DVS system to keep the air drier."
A trampoline and saltwater pool in the backyard are also helpful.
The average life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis is around 35 although it varies considerably from person to person.
Around one third of Gracie's left lung is already damaged and a small section of her right from chronic infections.
Lung transplants are common in teenagers with the condition.
"Hopefully in 10 years' time she will just be popping a pill to make her perfectly healthy," Mr McDonald says.
The Auckland Marathon on November 3 will be both his first and last, Mr McDonald says.
Go to fundraiseonline.co.nz/NormanMcDonald to make a donation to Breath4CF.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have the new speed limit rules made you change your driving habits?