My name is Katie Reed. I am 12 years old and I have the lung disease Bronchiectasis.
I was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis four years ago, in May 2012, following seven bouts of pneumonia in the previous fifteen months. I also have Asthma.
Because I have Bronchiectasis I get sick a lot and miss a lot of school, I now only go to school part-time as I get very tired. I spend lots of time in hospital having IV antibiotics for lung infections. I have been in hospital thirty times in the last four years, each time I stay for at least two weeks (one time I stayed for four weeks). When I am in hospital I do lots of school work with my Mum and my teacher from the Northern Health School. I also go to Starship Hospital to stay.
When I am not in hospital I have lots of appointments at Whangarei Hospital and Starship Hospital. In December 2013 I went to Starship Hospital and got a port-a-cath put in. Having a port-a-cath has made my life a lot easier, especially when I am in hospital, because I don’t have to be poked and prodded with needles in my veins or wait hours without food to go into theatre to get a PICC line put in.
To help me stay well I take medication and inhalers, and do twice-daily physio and nebuliser. Sometimes I don’t want to do my physio but I know I have to otherwise I get sicker and go into hospital more often. And this means I miss out on fun things in life like horse riding, swimming lessons, hanging out with my friends, going to school, and going to Girl Guides.
Sadly, Esther passed away in June 2014. Esther had set up a support group on Facebook called Northland Bronchiectasis Support Group which is now managed by my Mum, Lisa Reed. At the time Esther had already started to set up the Bronchiectasis Foundation to help raise funds to help people (especially children) with Bronchiectasis. We shared ideas about how we can help people, such as providing an information pack to children with Bronchiectasis, and their families, who are admitted to the children’s ward at the hospital. The pack could have information about Bronchiectasis in it for the parents and activities for the sick children to do. Esther and I have been in the newspaper and on TV quite a lot to raise awareness of Bronchiectasis, the Support Group and the Foundation. I was also the face of the Countdown Kids Appeal two years ago, to raise funds for the children’s ward at the hospital. I helped to raise $137,000.