A NORTH Belfast businessman has started a fundraising drive for two Oldpark siblings who suffer from cystic fibrosis.

Oldpark man John Kelly started a GoFundMe page online for five-year-old Katie and little baby brother, Caleb Donaghy who is just two months old, to raise vital funds including an important vest for Caleb.

Newly-born Caleb was diagnosed with the condition and requires antibiotics, vitamins and enzymes to help digest his food daily whilst undertaking physio twice a week.

Sister Katie, who also has the disease uses a nebulizer multiple times a day.

“I started fundraising for little Caleb and her older sister Katie when I heard about their life-threatening condition,” explained John.

“However, with the proper medication and physiotherapy treatment, people can live a long normal life.

“I am trying to raise around £2500, particularly for the physiotherapy equipment such as vests to go with their airway clearance system that will help keep them as healthy for as long as possible.

“Together, we can help make a difference to these kids lives and a local family and I would encourage everyone to donate.”

Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that causes the body to make thick, sticky mucus that causes problems in two major areas, the lungs and the digestive system.

Healthy lungs produce mucus, which protects the airways and makes it easier to breathe. But for a person with CF, the mucus is thick and sticky and can clog up the lungs. This creates a place where bacteria can easily grow — and bacteria cause infections.

Mucus-producing cells also line the digestive tract, including the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, and reproductive organs. The pancreas produces enzymes that help digest food and hormones that help absorb sugar. When thick mucus in the pancreas clogs up the narrow passageways, it can make it difficult for people to digest food and get all the vitamins and nutrients they need.

The average lifespan for someone with the illness is just 38 years old, however by taking medication and doing physio this helps them stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Research is ongoing and while there may not be a cure in the near future there may be medication that can help alleviate symptoms with the help of raising money for research to help ways to alleviate CF symptoms.

People can drop their donations for Caleb and Katie Donaghy at ‘Cut to the Bone’ butchers on the Oldpark Road or online at https://www.gofundme.com/32godrc.