Cystic fibrosis: disease that ended brave Tahlia’s life

Journalism student Tahlia Banks passed away in April 2015 after a double lung transplant proved unsuccessful. Here, her friend and fellow student DARRYL WHITE looks into efforts to fight the disease that claimed her life. 

May marks the month of cystic fibrosis awareness in America which  Cystic Fibrosis Trust endeavour to educate and promote research around the illness also. Cystic fibrosis is a result of being born with a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the cells.

One in twenty five people carry the faulty gene without knowing it. If both parents of the child are carriers of the gene, there is a 25% chance that the child will be born with cystic fibrosis. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is constantly campaigning for awareness of the illness as each week two babies are born with cystic fibrosis and sadly two people die. The faulty gene effects the lungs and the digestive system leaving both organs clogged with a sticky mucus.

There are many events set up by the Trust – as the only cystic fibrosis charity – in order to raise money to find a cure for this ‘invisible illness’. From running to abseiling, there is plenty of events for all capabilities and ages to take part in. The charity has recently been involved with the London Marathon with a team of runners raising money for the cause.

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Tahlia Banks, a student at Coventry University studying Journalism and Media, regrettably passed away on 17 of April 2015. Tahlia was born with cystic fibrosis although she did not let this stop her or her Disney collection. She received a double lung transplant on 19 of December 2014 after a wait on the transplant list. She was adored by her peers and university lecturers, who described her as a “talented journalist”.


Tahlia made a huge impact on anyone that she came across, especially her family and friends. Her determination to pass her law test and finish her degree was immense for the journey that she was going through. Tahlia was known to many people on her Twitter account as “Tink”, after Tinkerbell, which she filled very nicely with her stubborn yet kind-hearted personality. CF Aware (@CFAware), a global cystic fibrosis conversation, supported Tahlia and many other people during their journeys. It tweeted: “Really saddened to hear the news that @BLT_x passed away Friday night. She’ll be missed by us all x”.

Cystic fibrosis is a constant battle which photographer Ian Pettigrew highlights with his recent work for the invisible illness. Suffering with cystic fibrosis himself, Pettigrew has photographed both men and women for his ‘JUST BREATHE: Adults Living With Cystic Fibrosis‘ project. After realising that he has photographed more women than men he decided to create the project ‘Salty Girls‘. The project is based around the idea that women with cystic fibrosis are beautiful and strong which encourages younger cystic fibrosis suffers to have confidence within themselves.

There are many ways, as a member of the public, to help raise awareness and raise money for this ‘invisible illness’. In memory of Tahlia Banks, Coventry University have set up a Just Giving page in order to aid finding a cure. There are other ways which people can support the charity which is by registering as an organ donor which can be done online. Helping to lengthen anyones life is a true gift. Be  a lifesaver and be a donor.




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