Ben inspires fundraisers in aid of cystic fibrosis

A fundraising event in aid of cystic fibrosis on behalf of a particular little boy and his family will be held next month.

Two-year-old Benjamin Collins was diagnosed with the condition just weeks after his birth, which left his parents and two siblings having to swiftly learn what this meant.

Now, in a bid to raise awareness of the condition, as well as much money as possible for charity, Thetford firefighters will hold a “survival of the fittest” event at an annual Thetford Youth Day in June.

All money raised will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, but Benjamin’s mother, Karen Collins, 36, who lives with her husband, Steven, a retained firefighter and full-time retained support officer, also 36, and their three children in Rosecroft Way, Thetford, said she hoped raising awareness of the condition would also make her son’s life easier in the future.

She added: “We were devastated really when we found out because your dreams and aspirations for you child crumble a little bit because it can result in a shorter life expectancy, though it’s different for each child, and you’re immediately in the hospital system so you lean quite quickly.

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“Now it’s more important for me personally to raise awareness than to raise money partly because in the community cystic fibrosis is not widespread and not known about fully and I don’t want him to have to explain himself so much and draw attention to himself.”

Cystic Fibrosis is caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the cells and affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus.

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Benjamin’s daily routine includes taking an enzyme which allows his food to be digested, antibiotics to guard against infection brought on by mucus in his lungs, vitamins, and physiotherapy to help him cough up the mucus.

Mrs Collins said despite this her son was an active little boy and added: “It’s not tough any more but it can be in the beginning because it’s quite a shock. Now we see it as part of his character - it’s something life throws at you.”

The fundraising event, jointly organised between Thetford Fire Service and the RAF Regiment and which will include events such as pulling a fire engine, tyre flipping and a 5km run, will be held at a fun day organised by the 1109 Air Cadets, in Kilverstone, Thetford, on June 3.

Thetford firefighter Rob Breen said money would also go towards autism, on behalf of the RAF, and added: “We wanted to design a fitness competition that any one sport wouldn’t have an advantage in. It combines just about everything you can think of.”

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