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In memory of mum: Harrogate student to dive 15,000 ft to support fight against rare disease

Clare with Lizzy and her sister Anna.
Clare with Lizzy and her sister Anna.
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'Living life to the full' Lizzy Elgie is taking to the skies in aid of the charity which supported her mother in the fight against a rare disease.

Aiming to raise £1,000 for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) the 17-year old from Boroughbridge will be taking part in a 15,000 foot skydive on Thursday, June 28.

Lizzy is aiming to raise at least 1,000 in aid of the charity with her skydive

Lizzy is aiming to raise at least 1,000 in aid of the charity with her skydive

When diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension her mother Clare was given two years to live, she fought bravely for nine. The disease makes it difficult for blood to be carried through to the lungs, causing breathlessness and in many cases like Clare's blackouts.

Ms Elgie said: "My mum would have blackouts sometimes. It was hard, and this happened a few times. I remember I was four the first time I had to call an ambulance for her."

She added: "This is just my way of giving back for all they did. it was a real help, all the times we went out meetings together as a family, talking with other families and the consultants.

"Mum passed away in 2011 (aged 38), and I am doing this for her and to just say thank you to everyone at the charity for their help."

PHA UK was established in 2000 and currently the only charity in the UK providing information and support to people with the disease and their families. There are currently an estimated 7,000 people living with the condition, which can be misdiagnosed as asthma.

Causing arteries in the heart to thicken or to become blocked by blood clots the disease makes it difficult for oxygen to be carried to the lungs, and circulated through the body.

Clare would travel to Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, sometimes six weeks at a time for treatment and receive support through the charity's consultants. The family would also travel to conferences and meetings hosted by the organisation.

Iain Armstrong, Chair of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK), said: “We’re very grateful to Lizzy for taking on this challenge for us. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare, serious disease that few people know about or understand.

"By taking on this skydive Lizzy is not only raising money, but also raising awareness - and doing something amazing in her mum’s memory.”
With her A-level exams on the horizon Lizzy decided to overcome the challenge of geography,math and English tests before taking the dive later this year.

Picking the challenge was an easy decision, not only to help raise money for the charity but also in remembering lessons from Clare.

She said: " My mum taught me many things about life, however one of the most important was to 'keep smiling and live life to the full. By doing this skydive and supporting the charity that helped my family during hard times."

If you would like to help Lizzy you can donate on her Justgiving page, or if you would like to find out more about PHA you can go here.