Edith Creek Primary School’s Aleyna Harrison was humbled by the support of her classmates as they donned red to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis.
Diagnosed at birth, Aleyna has led a more complicated life than most children her age.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that occurs when a person inherits the gene from both parents.
On average, one in 25 people carry the cystic fibrosis gene which can skip generations.
The condition mainly affects the lungs and digestive system, because of an abnormal amount of excessively thick and sticky mucus produced by the exocrine system. There is currently no cure and management treatment is lifelong.
As a consequence, Aleyna regularly uses a nebuliser which deposits medication directly into her lungs, as well as an acapella device which removes mucus and saliva from the airways.
Due to difficulty processing fat in food, Aleyna has to take tablets with every meal.
“You learn to deal with it,” says Aleyna.
“You just have to try to live a happy life and ignore it.”
When the grade six student council learned of their peer’s condition, they decided to do something about it. With the help of teacher Jodie Gausden, students organised a 65 Roses Day to raise funds and awareness for the condition.
Students were encouraged to come decked out in red for a gold coin donation to show their support for Aleyna. With the funds raised, Edith Creek Primary School was able to donate $200 to cystic fibrosis research.
Aleyna says she is proud of the effort the student council put in and the support of her peers.
But she doesn’t let the condition get her down: “I’m just a normal kid who has to do a few not normal things.”
To help find a cure for cystic fibrosis, head to www.cysticfibrosis.org.au/donate.
Edith Creek Primary School’s Aleyna Harrison has lived with cystic fibrosis since birth. Picture: Isaac Popowski.