Sisters Nikki Reynolds-Wilson and Kristie Purton will soon get to cuddle each other for the first time in almost a year.

Mrs Reynolds-Wilson, 26, and Mrs Purton, 34, were both born with cystic fibrosis - an inherited disorder that clogs the lungs and pancreas with thick, sticky mucus.

Both sisters have now undergone lung transplants which meant they could be close for the first time since Mrs Reynolds-Wilson's surgery on August 10 last year.

"I cannot wait to just cuddle her and just do heaps of fun things," Mrs Purton said.


"We have never come close to each other."

The two sisters became known as the Cystic Sisters after completing two rounds of 65 days of good deeds, prompted by the way young people say cystic fibrosis - 65 roses.

Mrs Purton has followed her sister in getting new lungs after undergoing surgery about two weeks ago.

The 34-year-old Tauranga mother-of-three was still sick when Mrs Reynolds-Wilson got her new lungs, which meant the sisters could not be in the same room as each other.

"It is not as easy for her to get those bugs but if she did they would be deadly to her," Mrs Purton said.

Thanks to the transplant, Mrs Purton was looking forward to being able to hug her little sister when Mrs Reynolds-Wilson visited from Australia in the September school holidays.

"It has been a whole year since we have done anything together," Mrs Purton said. "We have never been a cuddly family but just being able to be close is pretty special."

Mrs Purton got the go ahead for surgery on July 20 and is now recovering from her surgery in Auckland City Hospital where she has been for two weeks.

"It was kind of freaky because I wrote in our diary when Nikki got her transplant that I would get new lungs on July 20 and that was when I got the phone call," she said.


"I just freaked out, my kids were so excited."

Her speech was slightly impaired after suffering a stroke during surgery and she would spend about a month at Hearty Towers in Green Lane for rehabilitation before returning home.

Mrs Purton's lungs were still inflamed so she was unable to notice much difference in her breathing, but was looking forward to running around after her children.

"One of my biggest things is to be able to run along the beach and swim with my kids," she said.

"Last summer I could not go for a swim because I could not breathe."

Mrs Purton enjoyed watching her younger sister be able to play with her daughter without running out of energy and longed for the same with her three children aged 15, 9 and 6.

"It came to a point where I would just sit and watch the kids," she said. "It was getting me down quite a bit."

Mrs Purton said having cystic fibrosis was like breathing through a straw.

The sisters had constant headaches, had to sleep standing up, coughed 24/7 - and it was an effort to have a shower.

"You wake up tired and spent the next hour coughing and vomiting," Mrs Purton said.

"It was not even worth living anymore."

But the sisters have a new lease on life with new lungs.

"Nikki was always a bit sicker than me," Mrs Purton said. "This year I was sick as well but I went down hill really fast.

"We have never experienced until now what other people live like. Once we got our new lungs we realised how sick we were."

Mrs Purton said she could now help their mum and dad who were not in great health.

"I have never been able to help them," she said. "It is like a whole weight has been lifted from them."

She was also looking forward to being able to walk up the Mount and starting up the 65 days of good deeds again next year.

"We can just be a big family again," she said. "We will be able to have family barbecues and laugh."

Fundraising pages had been set up to help the sisters with surgery costs and Mrs Purton was thankful for the support from their friends, family and the community.