JUNK FOOD KEEPS JAKE ALIVE
by ANN-MARIE MAY
AT first glance most would be jealous of Jake Bailey.
While the rest of us can only indulge in junk food on the occasion, he has been given the green light to eat fattening foods as often as he likes.
In fact it's not unusual to see Jake eating mud cake for breakfast.
But first impressions can be deceiving.
Jake, who celebrated his 12th birthday this week, has cystic fibrosis and as much as he enjoys eating what he wants, when he wants, he struggles daily to keep his lungs healthy.
A genetic disease, cystic fibrosis causes the body to produce thick mucus which clogs the airways, leading to life-threatening lung infections.
The disease also obstructs the pancreas, causing digestion problems.
This means some children with the disease have trouble gaining weight and that is why Jake's diet is high in fat.
"Pancakes and ice-cream is my favourite," Jake said as he swallows down the last of his Kit-Kat.
"And it's fun to eat chocolate. I also have to eat a lot of salt which means lots of chips. And popcorn ? I eat a lot of popcorn."
It comes as no surprise to find that Jake's school friends love spending time at his house, especially when he pulls out his 'stash' from the top cupboard ? overflowing with chocolate, chips and every other treat a child could dream of.
But, as his parents, Cathy and Alan, are quick to point out, Jake also eats a lot of fruit and vegetables and is very active.
Soccer, tennis, swimming and juggling are just a few of the activities that keeps him fit and healthy.
Encouraging Jake's love of sport is one of the ways his parents have been aggressively treating the disease since he was diagnosed at six weeks old.
"In our every day life we don't call it a disease, we call it a condition," mum Cathy said.
"Children do die from cystic fibrosis. You just have to manage and medicate the best you can."
As part of his treatment Jake has to take 30 tablets a day ? and that is when he is well.
"Cystic fibrosis aside, Jake is normal in every other way. Unless we tell people he suffers from it they have no idea. And that's the way we like it, as that isn't what