Sabrina will now breathe easier

PERCUSSION VEST: Noel Gallagher, Billy Healy, Veronica Sussens, Matt Churchill, Vincent Zwarts, Jim Moodie, Sabrina Zwarts, Selena Pitt, Melissa Patterson and Sarah Martin at the presentation of the vest to cystic fibrosis sufferer Sabrina. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
PERCUSSION VEST: Noel Gallagher, Billy Healy, Veronica Sussens, Matt Churchill, Vincent Zwarts, Jim Moodie, Sabrina Zwarts, Selena Pitt, Melissa Patterson and Sarah Martin at the presentation of the vest to cystic fibrosis sufferer Sabrina. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

A YOUNG cystic fibrosis sufferer will breathe much easier thanks to a life-changing vest coming all the way from America.

In May the NewsMail reported on 17-year-old Sabrina Zwarts and her family's unwavering mission to obtain a special airway clearance vest that would help reduce the considerable time she spent in physiotherapy and hospital battling the debilitating disease.

The problem was the vest came at a cost of $20,000 and had to be imported from America.

However last Friday, that wish came true for the Zwarts family with staff at Friendly Society Private Hospital presenting Sabrina with the vest.

Sabrina's father, Vincent, said he was overjoyed and grateful for the support from many in the community

"I want Sabrina to live life to the fullest and this vest will improve her quality of life," he said.

"With the Airway Vest Clearance System Sabrina will be able to use it two to three times a day to clear the sticky mucus off her lungs that people with cystic fibrosis live with."

Sabrina studies at Smart City Vocational College, Bundaberg and to help Sabrina focus on her studies the college rallied behind her about three months ago launching a fundraiser.

A hospital spokeswoman said it had also been instrumental in facilitating the Zwarts family's fundraising efforts and more so in facilitating the negotiation and purchase of the vest itself.

Last year, Sabrina lost her 18-year-old sister to cystic fibrosis and Mr Zwarts was determined to keep his daughter healthy.

"Because the Friendlies jumped on board it made things go a little quicker," he said.

"Friendlies also got her a 12 month membership with Salt Haven so being in a salt room will help her breathing and opening up her airways.

"Sabrina's lung function has been sitting between 56% to 74% and we would like it to be above 80%, with an aim of reaching 90% and keeping it above that using the vest."

Topics:  cystic fibrosis friendly society private hospital

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