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Lorraine always made the most of life
LORRAINE Bishop, one of only 20 people in the UK to suffer from a rare and untreatable condition, battled on with a smile her family will always remember.
Lorraine, 46, of Meadowcroft, was diagnosed with Type B Niemann-Pick, a potentially fatal disease, in 2003. But, although her family were told three times she might not make it, she survived 10 more years.
Due to the rarity of the condition doctors at first diagnosed her with chronic asthma because the symptoms were so similar.
But after seeing specialists who managed to give a correct diagnosis, Lorraine went through some experimental treatments before they discovered nothing could be done.
She lived out the rest of her life on heavy medication and oxygen before she died at Prospect Hospice last Wednesday.
Lorraine was given a full pension from the Book Club Association at the early age of 38, and survived for eight more years – time her mother Wendy Peart treasured.
“I lost my daughter at 46, but I am pleased that people spent the time with her and she stayed so cheerful all the way through,” said Wendy.
“Prospect Hospice were told that she was not going to pull through three times, but she stayed strong. “She had three major heart attacks recently, but still she fought on.
“She was the heart and soul of the party. She knew her life was going to be short so she wanted to make the most of what she had left.
“Lorraine was like my right arm. If I ever had a problem, she was always there for me no matter what.”
Roy Peart, Lorraine’s father, said: “She had a beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. She was there for everybody, and she tried not to let life get her down.”
Her husband Neil Bishop said: “Nothing was ever a problem for Lorraine. She has even organised her own funeral down to the last detail.”
The family said said when Lorraine was diagnosed, little was known about her condition.
Wendy said: “In the early days she started getting chronic asthma, or at least that’s what doctors thought she had.
“Doctors at GWH found that she had something in her lungs from X-Rays. “One of the doctors there used to work at Royal Brampton Hospital in London, and recommended we go there. “They did a biopsy and found out what was in her lungs was lipid. At that time we were told it was Niemann-Pick.”
Neil, 49, said: “Her fat cells would not disappear but build up in her lungs. When they went to clear it out the lungs were given a jet wash.
“Dr Cliff Morgan, in London, used to carry out the washes in his spare time, and had to use the surgery out of hours.
But the treatment proved unproductive.
“When it comes to washing the lungs out they can’t get rid of all of it, so the stuff that is left behind expands and grows even faster,” said Wendy. “It is a shame they only realised afterwards that it was not doing any good. After that they could only offer painkillers.”
“It is a genetic illness,similar to pneumonia. In the past if pneumonia was on the death certificate it could have been Niemann-Pick.
To find out more visit www.niemannpick.org.uk.
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