Cystic sisters recognised for good deeds

Nikki Reynolds-Wilson (left) and Kristie Purton are doing 65 good deeds to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation. Photo/George Novak
Nikki Reynolds-Wilson (left) and Kristie Purton are doing 65 good deeds to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation. Photo/George Novak

Two Tauranga sisters with cystic fibrosis have been named as finalists in a national award for their good deeds to raise awareness of the disorder. Kristie Purton, 33, and Nikki Reynolds-Wilson, 25, were not expected to live past 18, but the sisters now live busy lives with their husbands and children.

The pair both have cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disorder which affects organs by clogging them with a thick, sticky mucus. For the "cystic sisters", this means living with just 20-30 per cent lung capacity.

Despite the respiratory problems, daily medications, appointments, and numerous hospital visits, the sisters have dedicated themselves to living positive lives.

"Of course there are moments where I feel down and think everything's unfair and why me," Reynolds-Wilson said. "But if I stay like that I'm not going to live and be very happy, so I always pull myself out of it and be happy."

This attitude, along with the sisters' decision to do '65 good deeds for cystic fibrosis', is the reason they were chosen as finalists for the Spirit of Attitude category in this year's Attitude Awards.

The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with disability and chronic health.

Funded completely by themselves, the sisters do things like delivering home baking to emergency services, hospital security and lifeguards, donate used clothing to good causes and sometimes pay for a McDonald's meal for an unsuspecting stranger in the drive through queue behind them.

Half way through this year's acts of kindness Reynolds-Wilson was told her wait was over for a new set of lungs.

She has now completed the lung transplant and is recovering well in hospital.

"Mum and Dad say it's weird not hearing the cough that they have heard since she was a kid," Purton said.

The life span for a new set of lungs is just eight -10 years, but nevertheless Reynolds-Wilson is looking forward to the enjoyment she will get in life with her new lungs, especially being able to be active with her daughter Skyla.

The sisters will find out if they have won an Attitude Award at a black-tie gala on November 29 at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds.

There are eight categories in the 2016 Attitude Awards, with some new awards this year: Youth Spirit, Making a Difference, Emerging Athlete, Sporting Spirit, Spirit of Attitude, Artistic Achievement, Entrepreneur and Employer Award. The overall winner of the Attitude ACC Supreme Award is selected from the category winners and a People's Choice winner and Hall of Fame inductee are also announced at the awards.

"Once again I take my hat off to the judges for managing to narrow down the record number of nominations we had to just 24 finalists, across the 8 categories," chair of the Attitude Trust, Dan Buckingham said. "Now I'm looking forward to getting to know the finalists as we travel around the country filming with them and sharing their stories."

He wanted to thank the "fantastic family of sponsors" and encouraged everyone to visit AttitudeLive.com in early November to see short films of the finalists and to vote for the person most deserving of the People's Choice Award.

For tickets to the Attitude Awards gala evening on November 29 contact Terri Cavanagh at terri@attitudeawards.org or phone 09 378 1565.

- NZ Herald

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