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4th February 2020

Old Penarthians Charitable Donation to Better Life Appeal

BY: Nathan Spackman

The Old Penarthians RFC recently presented a cheque for £1,000 to the Better Life Appeal based at University Hospital Llandough to help purchase equipment for the All Wales Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre.

Cystic fibrosis is the U.K.'s most common inherited life-threatening disease. It affects over 7,500 people in the UK and one person in 25 carries the defective gene (over 2.3 million carriers in the UK). University Hospital Llandough is the only adult CF centre in Wales caring for over 180 adults with CF.

The goal is to improve their current services by providing their patients with modern, often very expensive equipment, which has been developed to make life easier and provide them with significant benefit long term. With these advances in medicine and technology patients are living longer, with the average life expectancy now 31 years, compared to a few years ago when cystic fibrosis patients would not be expected to live beyond their teen years. 

Patient numbers are growing rapidly and the multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and other professionals at Llandough now totals nearly 60 people.

Old Penarthians RFC decided to support the Better Life Appeal this season in recognition of the excellent work that the Unit has achieved with one of the club’s popular members, Rhys Goodfellow. Rhys has received invaluable health care support over many years and was recently the beneficiary of a lungs and liver, double organ transplant in October 2019. Thankfully, the operation has so far proved to be a big success and Rhys is now home, back to work part-time and supporting the 1st XV from the touchline most Saturdays.

An initial fund raiser in November, organised by Old Penarthians 1st XV regular, Chris Poole, was superbly well attended by fellow squad players, club members, friends and family and the funds raised were used to support Rhys and his family with immediate post-operative financial assistance

Subsequently, the funds donated to the Better Life  Appeal were raised by the Club over the Christmas period thanks to  generous donations from participants at three principal events, namely the Club Christmas dinner, the Choral Evening and the Mariners ladies team Boxing Day match.

It is anticipated that the funds will be utilised on a new project aimed at increasing patient physical wellbeing through new exercise programmes which will include the purchase of items such as portable ventilators for home and hospital use.  These ventilators will help patients during severe exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or if patients develop sudden respiratory failure. They can also be used to help patients breathe long-term whilst waiting for life saving organ transplant operations.

Accompanying Rhys at Llandough Hospital, when the cheque was presented, was the Old Penarthians chairman Stephen Clarke, who hopes that a sporting lunch that he is hosting at the clubhouse on the eve of the Wales v France Six Nations match will raise further funds for this worthwhile charity.

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