By Mollie Tracey
A stunning student with a deadly lung condition has fulfilled her dream of becoming a cheerleader.
Emily Bonney, 18, from Blackpool, takes up to 60 tablets every day to keep her lungs functioning at a normal rate – but this didn’t stop her joining the squad.
After being diagnosed with life limiting cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition which causes the lungs to become clogged with mucus – aged eight, she has defied the odds.
Emily, who trains with squad Airborn Nitros for eight hours a week, has been chosen compete at the world championships in two months’ time.
The health and social students’ journey has attracted over 50k followers to her Instagram page and blog and she has since started to tick things off a bucket list.
Emily said: “Without taking 60 tablets every day I would struggle to even walk up a flight of stairs.
“But I have never allowed my cystic fibrosis to get in the way of my dreams, and to compete in the world championships with Team England ParaCheer will be amazing.
“I have to go into hospital once every three months to get intravenous antibiotics through an IV drip, the treatment lasts two weeks but luckily I am able to be at home during this time.
“I also have physio therapy twice a day and breathing treatments twice a day to help ensure I’m on top form.
“In the future I may need a double lung transplant but I’m trying not to think about that and instead, I live life to the full.
“I started my bucket list in 2014, no one knows how long they’re going to have left but I want to achieve some things and see more of the world and what it has to offer.
“I have now reached over 50k followers on my Instagram page and it means a lot to me to know how many people support my journey, hopefully I can encourage others to pursue their dreams too.”
At just eight years old, Emily weighed a frail 2st 9lbs and her worried parents Lesley, 50, and Dave, 49, took her for a check-up at the doctors.
She added: “I had really bad asthma symptoms and I was acting unusually quiet at school, I had a chest X-ray which found something wasn’t quite right.
“I was kept in hospital on oxygen and tests soon revealed I had cystic fibrosis, ever since I have had routine ultra sound scans and blood tests to monitor my condition.
“I have also been diagnosed with liver disease, sinus disease and CF related diabetes, but despite this I try my best not to let them get in the way of my dreams.
“The treatments are constantly getting better and doctors have said that my life expectancy should reach around 50.”
Despite having difficulties breathing, Emily started cheerleading when she was around nine and has been competing ever since.
Emily said: “I absolutely love cheerleading and I am now part of Team England ParaCheer, I will be representing England at the ICU world championships in Orlando in April.
“It’s an incredible opportunity, I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me and I can’t wait to compete.
“At times I do struggle, just before I have to have my two week course of antibiotics I find myself slower than the rest of the team.
“My immune system is very low and so I do get ill quite a lot, and when I’m on my treatment I can’t go to cheer practice.”
Around two years ago Emily put together a bucket list and has been ticking items off her list as and when she can.
She added: “I’ve managed to complete a few things already, I saw Justin Bieber in concert, flew in a hot air balloon and swan with dolphins which was amazing.
“But there are still other things that I want to do such as travel the world and go sky diving before I die.
“I am studying health and social at collage as I want to become a Paediatric nurse, but of course I will carry on with cheer for as long as possible.
“I am living my life to the full despite my illness and I want to encourage others to do the same, I am an example that it is still possible to achieve your dreams.”
To follow Emily’s journey please here.