Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.
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Gordon Brown’s four-month-old son Fraser has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. My thoughts are with the family at this time – clearly, this is devastating news for them, and it’s hard to know what to post in these situations.
Nick Robinson tells an interesting anecdote on his blog:
My thoughts instantly turned to an event a couple of years ago which I attended at 11 Downing Street. It was, ironically, to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The star of the evening was Emily Thackray, pictured on the right with the Chancellor.
Emily is beautiful and charismatic and looks a picture of health. However, she is very ill with cystic fibrosis. When she told the assembled company that she was being considered for a transplant as “time is running out” I well recall the impact she made. Several people in the room fainted. The chancellor was visibly moved. So much so that I asked my camera crew to give him some privacy.
The good news is that two years later Emily is still with us. She was told in March 2005 that without a lung transplant she only had a year left to live but she is – I’m told – still fighting on.
Despite the personal difficulty for a reportedly forward-looking Chancellor, perhaps its not too terrible to suggest that having both leaders of the major political parties having children with chronic medical conditions may do something to benefit the thousands of children throughout the land who live with ongoing medical complaints. Since Ivan Cameron has cerebral palsy and Fraser Brown has cystic fibrosis, it seems that for the next while we’re going to have Prime Ministers with intimate personal experience of the NHS and caring for a chronically unwell child – and whilst undoubtedly terrible for the individuals, perhaps that will be good for the country, and good for the care of children throughout the land.
Surely there is nobody better to plan services for children like Ivan and Fraser than the people that use the services day-in, day-out, and understand the hardships and difficulties that the bad times bring – as well, of course, as the joy and laughter of the good times. And this certainly provides a platform for public awareness of the diseases to be increased. Let’s hope that some great good can come of some bad news.