The Drugs Do Work

Back in November of last year a piece was written on David Noonan’s plight to gain access to the ‘wonder drug’ for sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis, Kalydeco. This is the story of how one student at Nottingham Trent managed to regain normality in his life.

Before Kalydeco, David’s day was dominated by breathing exercises, physiotherapy and medicating himself on 50 tablets.
Photo: Raluca Moraru

At the time of writing the original article on David, he was in the middle of appealing on compassionate grounds to get access to a medication that the NHS deemed too expensive, despite knowing that it could drastically improve his life. Thankfully David, and around 400 others who suffer the same strain of CF, have been approved and will receive the treatment of Kalydeco. So what difference is this going to make to David’s life?

In the last three months his lung capacity has increased 10%, his body is quicker at recovering from infections and he feels like he has a lot more energy. But these are just the physical changes. The biggest change, one which was evident upon meeting him, is that David has a brighter view on his future. It has given him a level of base health upon which to build himself from.

Being approved for Kalydeco has drastically improved David’s life.
Photo: Raluca Moraru

The level of health that many of us take for granted has given him a new lease on life and allowed him to ‘do normal things again’. He can now allow himself to become a part of the student world and suffer the seemingly insignificant stresses of deadlines and exams again. While immersed in the campaign last year David was on the verge of dropping out of university but the drug has allowed him to continue his studies and pursue a career in graphic design. In his own words ‘I, one hundred percent, wouldn’t be here without Kalydeco’.

This isn’t to say that all of his worries have disappeared. With a lower than average lung capacity David still has to be careful what he takes on. But he is now in a position to set himself ‘realistic goals’ for the future. With a better idea of what his body is now capable of he has his free time back to reintroduce himself to hobbies such as cycling.

Thanks to his increased lung capacity, David can get back into hobbies such as cycling.
Photo: Raluca Moraru

It isn’t just the drug which has helped to improve David’s life. Throughout the campaign to gain access to Kalydeco he did interviews for television, radio and print media, his personal highlight being a live webcast with CF Unite as a patient expert. These experiences have helped his confidence and public speaking and combined with the healthier body afforded by this treatment he is in far greater place than he was 6 months ago.

There are still a few hold ups in some patients receiving access to this treatment however despite approval being granted. His sister Rebecca is among those being held back by red tape at a local level, though the hope is that the main fight is over for these individuals.

With the NHS rarely out of the headlines it is refreshing to see the human side of decisions which often come down to economic viability. The simple fact remains that David’s life has been turned around by this treatment and though he had to fight hard the reward has now come.

Chris Anderson

Header Image: Byron Kirk

Tags from the story
, , ,