Smiling Niamh inspires Mirfield family’s fundraising

OUR INSPIRATION: From left, Craig Roberts,  Anna Ellis and Niamh, Joanne and Paul Biltcliffe. (d303b320)
OUR INSPIRATION: From left, Craig Roberts, Anna Ellis and Niamh, Joanne and Paul Biltcliffe. (d303b320)

Little Niamh Biltcliffe hasn’t had the easiest start in life – but the four-year-old who is ‘always laughing and smiling’ is an inspiration to her tight-knit family.

Born prematurely in Dewsbury and District Hospital, Niamh has cystic fibrosis, or CF, a life-limiting genetic condition that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines.

Mum Lisa and Dad Paul, who live in Wellhouse Close, Mirfield, had no idea that they carried the faulty gene which causes the condition. Niamh spent the first four months of her life in hospital after being transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

And ever since, the couple, with family and friends, have been raising money for, and awareness of, the condition.

Paul, 36, said: “Niamh also had bowel problems. She probably had the worst start you can possibly have with CF.

“But she was a little fighter – she still is now. She’s full of life and fun and happiness. She’s always laughing and smiling.”

Paul said family and friends’ fundraising efforts had raised more than £7,000 for the condition so far.

The next fundraiser is the Chester Half-Marathon. On Sunday, Paul will take on the challenge with sister Joanne Biltcliffe, 39, brother-in-law Craig Roberts, 31, and Niamh’s godmother, Anna Ellis, 31.

Niamh has regular physiotherapy and has to take ‘countless’ medication, but Paul said his daughter doesn’t get down about it. “She just deals with it in her own little way,” he added. “Trying to raise awareness is important. Just looking at a picture of Niamh, you’d see a little girl and not see anything wrong at all.

“Fitness is an important part of coping with CF. We want to inspire Niamh to be active when she gets older. We are showing her we are committed to it.”

The family is raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Run-For-Niamh.