“It’s a Miracle!” Child With Cystic Fibrosis is Running, Dancing, Swimming Again After Receiving New Meds
Because of her Cystic Fibrosis (CF), seven-year-old Harriet Corr couldn’t swim, dance, or run and play like other children her age, but thanks to the relentless determination of her mom and other parents and a miracle medication, all of that has changed.
For the first 7 years of her life, Harriet could only sit and watch when her friends played chase, kickball, and other games on the playground during recess or P.E. classes. Any physical exertion could easily send the little girl into a life-threatening coughing fit.
She also had to be extremely careful to avoid contact with anyone who was sick, even if it was just a common cold. The mildest illness could land Harriet in the hospital, a visit which usually ended up being a long-term stay.
But now, thanks to the resolute spirits of Harriet’s mom and a group of parents with kids who also have CF, a new medication is available that can give these children their lives back.
It was not an easy battle. In fact, it took years for the parents of children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis to be given access to this miracle in most countries. Living in the UK, Harriet had to seek the approval of their government before it would be made available to her.
In 2019, at the young age of just 4 years old, brave Harriet stood before Parliament and pleaded with the MPs to secure this treatment for her and hundreds of others in her country. The miracle medication had just become available in the U.S., where pharmaceutical company
Vertex had developed it.
In the United States, Trikafta/Kaftrio was approved for children 12 and over back in 2019, and American children 6-11 years of age were added to the approved list in 2021. After battling for several years, children in the UK were finally given access to this miracle in February of 2022.
These medications are literal miracles for children all over the world as they are approved in various countries. For many kids just like Harriet, this treatment means an “overnight transformation,” and a chance to keep up with other kids for the first time in their lives.
In fact, Harriet’s mom Emma shares that her daughter’s lung capacity has increased from 67% to 120% after receiving Kaftrio. Emma explains that in August of 2021, while struggling just to breathe, Harriet had become so ill that she had to have a port fixed to her chest so that the hospital could get medications into the child more quickly.
Emma’s daughter seemed to be close to death.
With just one dose of Kaftrio, however, Harriet’s life was completely turned around. According to her mom, Harriet took the medication one night and woke the next morning exclaiming that her cough “felt different.”
At first, that feeling frightened both the child and her mom, but after coughing for only ten minutes, Harriet ceased to do so, “and then never coughed again.”
The little girl also had to drink special milkshakes in order to add weight to her previously frail body, but now can run, play, dance, and even swim like any other child her age.
In the words of her mom, “She’s a really big fun character and loves to be the center of attention. She used to struggle with her coughing whilst dancing, swimming, and playing football but now nothing is holding her back.”
Cystic Fibrosis is an illness that causes mucus to clog the airways and trap bacteria and germs, leading to inflammation, infections, respiratory failure, and eventually death.
There are currently over 40,000 people in the U.S., and 105,000 worldwide with CF. It affects people of all races and ethnicities. Thanks to promising new treatments, these people, like Harriet, can live longer, and much more fulfilling lives.
Writer’s Thoughts: This story is close to my heart, as an elementary school best friend of mine suffered from this illness, and sadly passed away in her 20s. So, in honor of Leslie, and for Harriet and all of those who will now have access to these amazing new meds…in the words of Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance.”