Hi there! My Name is Charles Michael Duke, I’m a Singer, Actor from Bournemouth. Currently 20 years old and I have Cystic Fibrosis. Oh, and I’ve been waiting for a double lung transplant since April 2015…
I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth and had a fairly healthy child hood. With around one admission for IV antibiotics a year. However in 2014 it all started to go a bit downhill. I started to be admitted more regularly, and my lung function started to rapidly decline.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that affects the Lungs and Digestive system. Mucus (hope you’re not eating your dinner right now…) is something that everyone has, in people without CF it is used to trap infection that comes into the lungs via the airways, from there it is coughed up and either spat out or swallowed. However in people with CF it is much thicker and much harder to cough up, so instead of trapping the infection and then being spat out, the infection harbours in the mucus, and gives it a place to grow. Meaning people with CF are much more prone to infection and get it more often than those who do not suffer from the disease. (Learn more here)
Between 2014 – 2015 I was admitted several times spending around 7 out of the 12 months in hospital – In June 2014 it was decided that my health had gotten to a point where we needed to consider lung transplantation, and so I was refereed for assessments. Unfortunately my health didn’t improve, so I went through the assessments and was listed in April 2015, I have been waiting for a double lung transplant since.
When I was listed my doctors and I decided to adopt a regime where I spend 2 weeks in hospital and then 2 weeks at home in the hope that this will keep my health stable so that I am ‘well enough’ for when my call comes to be able to go through the operation.
I have always loved singing, dancing and acting, and never let my CF stop me from doing what I loved. However during Christmas 2014 this all changed, as when I was performing in ‘The Christmas spectacular 2014’, my lung collapsed during a performance and I was admitted to hospital on Christmas Eve. I haven’t been able to perform since. But thanks to Youtube – I’ve been able to keep entertaining people and continue to raise awareness. Whilst I’m waiting for the call I’ve also held several fundraisers to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and hope to continue to do so. Once I’ve had my transplant, I plan to busk around the UK in 52 cities on 52 different days to celebrate their 52nd birthday!
Much Love. Keep Smiling!