Family makes most of holiday

Bridget Nolan has a terminal lung condition

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 13:52 12/12/2012
Bridget Nolan
Wrapped: Bridget Nolan, of Blenheim, gets cosy with a python at Australia Zoo in Brisbane during a family trip across the Tasman. Marlborough social workers banded together to set up an appeal for the 42-year-old mother of two to take a family holiday after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness this year.

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A Blenheim woman with a terminal lung condition created life-long memories for her son and daughter during a family trip to Australia.

They were able to do the trip thanks to about $7000 donated to an appeal set up by Marlborough social workers.

Barnardos social worker Bridget Nolan, 42, was diagnosed with a form of lung disease this year. A CT scan in Christchurch in July confirmed the diagnosis as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes progressive and generally irreversible scarring of lung tissue. The associated scarring affects breathing and the ability to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream.

Blenheim social workers Bronwyn Hutcheson and Vonda Walker set up a bank account for Ms Nolan to take a family holiday to Australia with son Logan, 15, and daughter Morgan, 12.

Donations to the account and a fundraising dinner at Bamboo Garden restaurant raised about $7000 for the family, Ms Hutcheson said.

Ms Nolan said she was overwhelmed and grateful for all the thought and effort that went into the appeal, as well as the resulting support.

Everything for the holiday had been pre-paid and pre-booked.

All that the family had to do was turn up, Ms Nolan said.

The holiday was filled with good family time and visits to Dreamworld, Movie World Australia, Water World and Australia Zoo.

"I went back on steroids so I was well enough to race around with the kids," she said.

"It was the most amazing trip."

In addition to creating good memories, the trip marked a few firsts for Logan and Morgan, who met their relatives in Adelaide and Brisbane and took their first plane flight, Ms Nolan said.

She is getting back into her normal routine after having returned from the two-week trip in November.

She had weaned herself off the steroid-based drug prednisone, which had opened her airways and helped her function when she was at her worst between February and March.

Despite her illness, which leaves her with a life expectancy of two to 15 years, Ms Nolan has been working part-time for Barnardos in Blenheim since being diagnosed.

"I'm obviously not getting any better.

"Out of every 100 people diagnosed, 50 of them will die within the first two years of being diagnosed."

However, Ms Nolan's outlook was to "just get on with it".

"This is the new me - learning to cope and manage with what I've got."

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- The Marlborough Express

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