First Australian with Cystic Fibrosis to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

By Meg Draffin

Meg Draffin & partner, Nathan Roye, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the CF Clinic at the Children's Hospital at Westmead

Meg Draffin may seem like your average 24 year old. She has a full time job working in digital marketing, is in a long term relationship and has a great network of family and friends. However when she was just 6 weeks old, Meg was diagnosed with the incurable genetic condition, Cystic Fibrosis (CF). This year, Meg has set herself the goal to be the first Australian with CF to climb Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa’s highest mountain. Whilst the physically demanding trek and high altitude levels would challenge a fit person, the difficulty of the climb increases significantly for those with CF because of chronic respiratory problems. Meg is climbing to raise much needed funds for the CF Clinic at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Cystic Fibrosis primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. In the lungs, chronic respiratory infections can rapidly reduce lung function. A routine of daily physiotherapy and exercise to clear lung congestion is an essential and exhausting life-long commitment. In the digestive system the inability of the pancreas to make enzymes to break down food to a useable form requires oral enzyme supplementation (in the form of 3 or more capsules) every single time a person eats. There is currently no cure and Cystic Fibrosis remains the most common lethal genetic condition in Australia affecting 1 in every 2,500 new births.

The CF clinic at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead delivers world class care to over 200 children with CF every day. To do so a number of the staff, equipment needs and research support comes from fundraising driven by people with CF and their families who understand how important the provision of these resources and service are. Since Meg was diagnosed with CF, she was treated by the team at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead until she became an adult and her care then moved to the Westmead adult system. It is a result of the clinic’s amazing efforts and the dedication of her family and herself to treatment that has Meg at the healthiest she has ever been. Pleasingly, Meg has been fortunate enough to not require a hospital admission over the last 4 years.

To thank the CF clinic at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and support the team so kids have access to the same lifestyle Meg’s fortunate to have, 100% of all the funds raised will go directly to the clinic. Meg will be funding her entire trip herself so every contribution and financial support will go where it's most needed. It is important that young children have access to the best equipment, medication and treatment to keep them healthy and to enable them to be as self-sufficient as possible when they enter the adult system.

Meg will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with her partner, Nathan Roye, in August. To support her on the goal to be the first Australian to summit, you can donate today.