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Alex IPF right hand

Alexandra Daniels (centre) raises over £800 to support research into Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Alex raises over £800 to support research into Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Exeter teenager Alexandra Daniels has raised over £800 to help fund respiratory research at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in memory of her grandfather.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lung condition which causes scarring on the lungs and makes breathing increasingly difficult. It has no known cause or cure and the number of people affected by it is rising every year.

Seventeen year old Alex was inspired to start fundraising after her grandfather John Kerley sadly passed away from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2012. As a thank you for the care that he received at the RD&E, her family set up a charity called the Kerley-Bretherton Fund to help support research into the disease at the hospital and the University of Exeter Medical School.   

In October 2017, Alex took on the gruelling 240 kilometres Congo-Nile cycle, riding through Rwanda over five days.

Alex explained: “The cycle was a chance to raise money for the charity, whilst allowing me to conduct research into my study project on ecotourism and its impact on local communities. The Congo-Nile cycle was particularly challenging, riding in the humid environment of Rwanda from early in the morning until noon. Cycling in the 30 degree heat made us prone to heat stroke throughout the day making it very difficult at times. As Rwanda is named the ‘land of a thousand hills’, we encountered many of these inclines throughout each day, meaning we were exhausted by the evening!”

Thanks to her efforts, Alex completed the cycle and raised £870.57 for the Kerley-Bretherton Fund from sponsorship by friends, family and fellow pupils at Maynards School in Exeter. She also received a £200 donation from the Exeter Lions Club towards her challenge. 

Her contribution will be used to help further support non-clinical research into IPF, such as exercise studies, currently being undertaken at the RD&E by researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School.

Alex and her family recently visited the RD&E to hand over her cheque and to meet with some of the staff leading the research studies she’s helped support.

Dr Michael Gibbons, Clinical Lead for ILD and Associate Director for Research & Development at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital said: “On behalf of all the respiratory team, I’d like to say a big thank you to Alex for her amazing effort. Her fundraising means that we can continue to support research into respiratory conditions like Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis for the benefit of our patients.”

Date: 5 January 2018

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