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‘Emma's diagnosis shattered us’

Wednesday, 11th July, 2018 5:12pm

A brave Cork father whose daughter has cystic fibrosis is taking a huge leap of faith for charity.

Dominic Payne’s daughter Emma was born with cystic fibrosis in January. Despite the shock of the diagnosis, Dominic has now decided to undertake a 10,000 feet parachute in aid of CF Ireland next month.

Dominic, a nurse in CUH, says he and his wife Sinead had been through a lot even before the diagnosis.

“It was a bit of a rollercoaster,” he admits.

“We were told it was more than likely that Emma had Down Syndrome, and we spent three weeks in the Rotunda in Dublin. It was decided to induce the pregnancy, but Sinead eventually had to have an emergency caesarean section, and Emma was born a month premature.

“We were given the all-clear on Down Syndrome, but about a week after we got a call from the CUH to come in, and Emma was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). As you can imagine, that really took the world from under us, especially after everything we’d already gone through. It shattered us.”

Since then, Dominic and Sinead have had to come to terms with their daughter’s diagnosis. Emma’s is one of the most severe and common forms of CF, requiring tailored medication, long-term antibiotics and daily physio.

“It’s taken until about now to get a handle on things and come to terms with it,” Dominic admits.

“There’s still tough days. Emma doesn’t absorb fats, so we have to tailor her medication to what’s in her food. She’s also on a long-term antibiotic until three years, and a vitamin.

“We’ve had to be sneaky, as all of it is horrific to taste, but she’s been a star!”

Calling themselves Team Peanut (after Emma’s nickname), Dominic has teamed up with his brother and four work colleagues to organise a parachute jump in aid of CF Ireland.

Taking place on 19 August in Kilkenny, the jump’s GoFundMe page has already raised more than €3,600.

“I wanted to challenge myself and show people I’m willing to take a risk, rather than just going door-to-door,” Dominic says. “Emma’s gone through a hell of a lot, so I said I’d put myself through a bit too! Just to raise some funds and awareness.

“We just wanted to give something back to help other families. CF Ireland offers so much supports with regards to research, and some of the research in Ireland has actually led to medications coming out to treat the illness.”

To donate to Dominic’s GoFundMe page go to gofundme.com/parachute-jump-for-cystic-fibrosis.

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