Mum Of Cystic Fibrosis Says You Don't See Their Internal Battle

On first glance, siblings Isobel and Ruby look like healthy teenage girls -- but their mum says you "can't judge a book by its cover".

The young sisters both have genetic condition cystic fibrosis (CF) and need to maintain a gruelling schedule “just to get out the front door,” each day.

“It goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover,” mum Christine Donaldson told 10 daily.

“They look so healthy, but it’s what’s going on under the surface that people don’t see.”

Isobel, 14, (left) and Ruby 12, (right) both have cystic fibrosis (CF). Image: Supplied

Isobel was diagnosed with the condition shortly after birth, after bowel and weight complications. When Donaldson fell pregnant again, doctors carried out tests and confirmed prior to birth that Ruby would also have the condition.

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, life-threatening disorder that affects the lungs and digestive system, meaning the sisters need constant physiotherapy to keep their airways healthy.

“Physiotherapy sessions have always been part of the girl’s daily routine and as they have gotten older, their daily physio sessions have also increased and become more time-consuming,” Donaldson said.



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“Both girls do morning and evening physio plus a nightly treatment that breaks down the sticky mucus on their lungs overnight for them to remove with the next daily physio session.”

This treatment is combined with about 40-50 tablets per day each, and hospital stays of up to three or four months when the girls are unwell.

The Perth Children’s Hospital (formerly PMH) has been an integral part of the Donaldsons’ lives since Isobel was born, and this year staff asked if the girls would like to be ambassadors for the Euroz Big Walk -- an event raising funds for the hospital.

Ruby, Isobel and Paul with Monika Kos ahead of the event. Image: 10 News First

“We put together a team called The 'Young and The Breathless', a bit of a play on words,” Donaldson said.

The event, on Sunday, March 15, is a six or 15 kilometre walk, starting from Perth's Burswood Park. Organisers are now seeking registrations, urging members of the public to participate and support the cause.

If you’d like to be involved and raise funds to help children like Isobel and Ruby, you can register here: