Printer Friendly

Every day I wake up and say: 'Oh, I'm still here...how cool is that?' MUM NEEDS OXYGEN 15 HOURS A DAY AS SHE WAITS FOR VITAL SURGERY.

Byline: Laura Coventry

TO say life has not been kind to Lindsay Jarrett is an understatement.

The Scots mum-of-five has survived a near-fatal car crash, kidney failure and pneumonia - and is now battling a life-threatening condition which leaves her fighting for breath.

Without a double lung transplant, 40-year-old Lindsay will die.

But the talented sculptor and part-time model is living life to the full with her children, aged three to 22.

A hereditary condition known as Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is causing her lungs to deteriorate.

She must be tube-fed oxygen through her nose for 15 hours a day - at her worst, she needs it 24 hours a day Lindsay constantly struggles for breath, making it almost impossible to climb stairs or play with her younger children Mia Rosa, six, Rory, four, and three-year-old Findlay.

She said: "It's a progressive illness and eventually I will have respiratory failure.

"Sometimes I do stop breathing, but one day I might not start again.

"Every day I wake up and say to myself 'Oh, I am still here, how cool is that?'" Lindsay, who is also mum to university graduate Ciara, 22, and 14-year-old Jemma, continues to model and do catwalk shows - by inhaling oxygen before and after her runway walk.

The former police inspector, who served with the Sussex force for 10 years, won't let her failing health stand in the way of achieving her goals.

Lindsay, who turned 40 last week, said: "We all say 'Life is short' but when I got the diagnosis for my illness, I realised life for me will be very short.

"I have never smoked, yet I have the lungs of someone who's smoked 80-a-day.

"But you can sit and say to yourself 'I wish I'd done this' or you can just do it."

Single mum Lindsay enrolled on a full-time four-year degree course in sculpture at Glasgow School of Art - something she has always dreamed of doing.

She is unlikely to complete it without a lung transplant, but Lindsay is upbeat and believes she has found her calling.

Lindsay, who is originally from the Highlands, said: "All of a sudden I am happy with who I am.

"Being with like-minded people at the art school has kept me going.

"Three years ago I was on morphine on the sofa, attached to an oxygen machine. I can't believe where I am now. I was born to be an artist."

Although Lindsay has learned to manage her condition since the diagnosis in 2008, she is weak. Carrying around a heavy portable oxygen tank is taking its toll on her already-fragile lungs.

She is one of only a handful of people in Glasgow trialling the small oxygen canister which contains a six-hour supply and can be topped up at home.

But it means she cannot be away from home for long.

During a busy day in the studio at the art school, she risks running out.

Now Lindsay - who sleeps with a oxygen mask on - needs a new tank, which can be transported around on wheels and powered by the mains, for a better quality of life.

The system will cost around pounds 3500.

She revealed: "Carrying the portable tank around, I feel the pressure on my lungs. Often I can't breathe.

"In the studio it would run out before the end of the day, so I have to go away to attach myself to the machine at home. It's frustrating. This new system - which looks like a shopping trolley and can be pulled around rather than carried - plugs into the wall so I can stay out as long as I want.

"I could also go away overnight. It would be life-changing."

The alternative is being in a wheelchair, a road Lindsay is determined not to go down having been confined to one after a horrific car smash in 1998.

As a young police officer, Lindsay was in the passenger seat of a car responding to a 999 call when another vehicle drove into the side of the car.

She survived the near-fatal collision with a long list of devastating injuries, including a bleed on the brain, a broken neck and fractured pelvis.

During a lengthy recovery at a police rehab centre, Lindsay learned to walk again.

It took five years for her to physically recuperate, but mentally, it still haunts her.

She said: "My legs work so I don't want to use a wheelchair."

A new oxygen tank will make Lindsay's life easier, allowing her to take a holiday and "make memories". But it won't cure her of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, which has also affected her liver.

Last year she was hospitalised with pneumonia and kidney failure - more side effects of her condition - but managed to fight her way back to health.

A double lung transplant is her only hope of making a full recover y.

However, with one in five recipients not surviving after the operation, the risks are huge.

She is also on the 'deferred' list and not considered sick enough for a transplant yet.

As a tall, slim blonde who models for a living, Lindsay is used to people looking at her.

But when the mum-of-five wears her oxygen tank and the clear nasal tubes, they are staring for a different reason.

She said: "Before this when people used to stare I felt good.

"Now it's because I have got this stupid thing, it makes me feel a bit embarrassed."

One friend who has been touched by Lindsay's story is talent scout Sonia Scott Mackay, who runs The Sonia Scott Agency.

She launched Lindsay's modelling career in 2007 and has started a fundraising drive to generate the pounds 3500 needed to buy her new oxygen tank.

Last week Sonia, who appeared on Come Dine With Me in 2010, staged a charity event to celebrate the agency's third anniversary.

After auctioning off prizes including a bottle of Moet, Old Firm tickets and a psychic reading with Joan Charles, Sonia and her guests raised almost pounds 1000.

Sonia said: "I first met Lindsay in her 30s when she came to the model agency with her daughter.

"I thought, 'This is a good-looking, well-groomed woman' so I signed her up.

"Lindsay is an inspiration to everyone she meets, she's amazing.

"When my own life was an emotional rollercoaster, she helped put it into perspective."

Brave Lindsay is telling her story because she wants to stress the importance of carrying a donor card and raise awareness of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Without her positive attitude, she would not be coping so well - and neither would her children.

Even when talking about the end, Lindsay manages to put a positive spin on it.

She said: "I know I am dying, but I genuinely don't think about it much.

"Of course, there are times when I look at my children and think 'I am not going to see you get married'.

"But there are so many positive things in my life that far outweigh the negativity of what's coming.

"I am happy for the now."

Catch Lindsay modelling underwear on The Hour on STV this Friday (February 11) between 5pm and 6pm.

To donate to oxygen Lindsay's tank appeal contact at The fundraising will Sonia Scott Mackay tel 0141 Sonia Scott Agency, or email 4181074 co.uk alltalentuk.

CAPTION(S):

ALL SMILES: With kids Findlay, three, and Jemma, 14 BRAVE: Lindsay tops up with oxygen as she gets ready for catwalk assignment BEAUTY: Lindsay as a model, early days on the force, and learning to walk again in rehab
COPYRIGHT 2011 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 14, 2011
Words:1260
Previous Article:YOU'VE P-P-P-P-PULLED.
Next Article:STREET KYM TOT WATCH.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters