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Sussex sisters could be oldest cystic fibrosis sufferers
4:00pm Tuesday 8th May 2012 in News
Two sisters are believed to be the oldest living twins with cystic fibrosis.
Christine Mumford and Michelle Martin say the care and support they got from their parents while growing up helped them defy the odds.
The pair, aged 48, are both married and live a short distance from each other.
Shortly after they were born, their parents were told they would only live for a few years as very little was known about the condition in the 1960s.
Mrs Mumford, from Horsham, said: “The outlook was not very good and it was very frightening to have to deal with.
“Our parents were pretty much learning as they went along and so were the doctors.
“We called ourselves the guinea pig generation.
“When we were little we were simply given digestive pills and antibiotics when we needed to have them but the advances on treatment over the years has been amazing.
“We have always been sensible and looked after each other.”
The twins are still doing well at the moment although they need regular daily medication.
Mrs Mumford said: “We both know what the other is going through and that is very important to us.
“Unfortunately Michelle has been having more problems than me recently and it can be very difficult to see her so unwell.”
Mrs Martin, from Southwater, has five nebulisers and takes 52 tablets each day.
She said: “It is beginning to catch up with me a little but we have never let our condition stop us from living our lives.
“We went out clubbing, we went on holidays and we never felt that we couldn’t keep up with our friends.
“A lot of it is down to a strong positive attitude.
“Treatments are improving all the time and we want people to know that even if you have CF, it doesn’t mean you cannot get on and enjoy life.”
The debilitating disease affects more than 9,000 people Britain.
About half of CF sufferers are now expected to live beyond 41, although the average age of death is 29.
Improvements in care have undoubtedly been helped by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which was set up in the same year as the twins were born.
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is campaigning to raise awareness about the condition, calling for free prescriptions for sufferers.
CF is caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the cells within the body.