Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Battlers determined to enjoy life to the fullest + video

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Two sisters who were not expected to live past 18 have defied the odds and are continuing to fight for more time to spend with their husbands and children.

Sisters Kristie Purton, 31, and Nikki Reynolds-Wilson, 24, were both born with the inherited condition, cystic fibrosis. Doctors told their parents they would not live past 18.

"It's probably different for everyone, but for us it would be now we are older and are getting sicker ... the life expectancy and not being there for our kids. Thinking about that and being sick all the time."
Nikki Reynolds-Wilson

Despite their own battle, the two women are now completing 65 days of good deeds for others to spread awareness of the disorder, which affects their lungs.

Today, the sisters are married mums with four children between them.

"We do everything together," Mrs Reynolds-Wilson told the Bay of Plenty Times.

Cystic fibrosis shortens a person's life expectancy and mainly affects the digestive system as mucus blocks the pancreas, stopping the digestive enzymes produced from making their way to the gut to digest food. Almost everyone with CF will sooner or later develop lung disease.

The worst part of the condition was getting older, she said.

"It's probably different for everyone, but for us it would be now we are older and are getting sicker ... the life expectancy and not being there for our kids. Thinking about that and being sick all the time."

Since her daughter, Skylar, 4, was born Mrs Reynolds-Wilson has been writing in a diary for her every couple of days so when she dies, Skylar will be able to read it, recall memories and seek advice from her mum.

Mrs Purton said she knows she will probably not be around when her youngest child, Haylee 4, gets married and has her own children.

"Deep down I think about that, and that's the worst thing but we have to make the most of being here now. "

On Saturday they kicked off their 65 days of good deeds.

The time frame comes from how younger children pronounce cystic fibrosis - 65 roses.

Mrs Purton drove through Route K on Saturday and paid for the car behind her.

"When they came past they were waving and tooting at us."

Yesterday the sisters took baking to St John Tauranga.

Mrs Reynolds-Wilson was planning to take newspaper and towels to the SPCA and organise a day to volunteer at the animal shelter.

Mrs Purton said the pair wanted to complete the 65 days of good deeds to increase awareness of their disease.

There is no cure so the sisters are doing all they can to buy more time to spend with their families.

Mrs Reynolds-Wilson's condition meant her lungs were working at 27 per cent of what they should while Mrs Purton's lungs were working at 30 per cent.

Mrs Reynolds-Wilson is now on the active waiting list for a lung transplant.

"I'll get lungs before her [Mrs Purton] and I'll give her running races because I have always been a bit sicker so I will be able to annoy her for a few years until she gets her new lungs."

Her sister will also need a lung transplant in the future.

- To follow Kristie and Nikki's 65 days of good deeds, head to: www.facebook.com/cysticsisters
- To donate to their Givealittlepage head to: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/65daysofgooddeedsforcysticfibrosis


What is Cystic Fibrosis?
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition that is passed on by parents to their child in the child's genes.
- To be affected by CF, a child must inherit a CF gene from each parent.
- CF is the most common genetic condition in New Zealand, affecting one in every 3500 births.
- It occurs mostly in Caucasian people, and rarely in Africans, Asians and Polynesians.
- There are more than 500 children and adults living with CF in New Zealand.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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