‘Balloon race’ to help fund research into CF

Student Daren Butler, 23, of Acton near Sudbury has cystic fibrosis

Student Daren Butler, 23, of Acton near Sudbury has cystic fibrosis - Credit: Archant

A virtual balloon race has been organised to raise money for life-changing research into treatments for cystic fibrosis.

The Big Balloon Bonanza will start at 12noon on March 21 when computerised balloons will be “released” in a virtual world for a seven-day race. The path each balloon takes will depend on the actual weather conditions during race week.

To increase the chance of flying further or for longer, all the balloons can be personalised online by choosing the size, shape and even the thickness of the rubber, with prizes for the balloons that travel the furthest.

Players must go online to choose a balloon, decorate it and even add a message. Each virtual balloon costs £5 and its progress can be tracked online during the course of the race.

Student Daren Butler, 23, of Acton near Sudbury, has cystic fibrosis and like others with the condition, he struggles to stay well and has to follow a strict daily routine.

Every morning he has three inhalers and more than 15 tablets on top of two lots of insulin because he is also diabetic. He has to have physiotherapy including using a special air device to make his lungs flutter.

At lunch-time he takes 10 more pills with insulin, which is repeated in the evening with more physiotherapy before bedtime.

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To avoid cross infection, people with cystic fibrosis should never meet with one another, which can leave those with the condition feeling isolated.

Mr Butler, who is a keen drummer and performs with the local band Flashbacks, is backing the Big Balloon Bonanza to help raise awareness about cystic fibrosis. He said: “I have many friends who have lost their battle with this horrible disease.

“It’s a massive daily struggle every minute of every day.

“I want to help people realise the amount it can affect families and people’s lives, and that people who have this illness don’t have to suffer alone when there are many others out there with the same condition.

“People don’t have to be scared about their experiences and fear that they are the only ones experiencing certain side effects or other problems that can occur with cystic fibrosis.”

You can enter the virtual balloon race at www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/balloon

The deadline for entries is 12noon on March 21. Race results will be announced on March 30.