Charles Michael Duke is a 21-year-old singer and actor from Bournemouth, England, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at birth. In this interview, Charles Michael Duke speaks about his struggle with the genetic and chronic disease as well as the difficulties of waiting for a potentially life-saving double lung transplant since April 2015.
“I had a fairly healthy childhood to be honest, for most of it. I was able to do everything I wanted to do, play football, go out with friends and things like that,” Duke explains in the interview which was made by the ITV show Loose Women and shared on their YouTube channel. “It was really in 2014 that my health started to deteriorate and I found myself in the position that I’m in now.”
During his childhood, the singer would need to go to the hospital once a year for IV antibiotics. But the situation changed as his lung function started to decline. At this time, Duke calculates that he is has spent about half of his life in hospital, where is submitted to oxygen therapy. Now, Duke has been placed on a waiting list for a double lung transplant and he shares his story, experiences, and struggles on social media and his blog.
While cystic fibrosis patients are not encouraged to meet one another in person due to the risk of infections, Charles Michael Duke uses social media to connect with other people going through the same process, and he says he has made great friends. The singer has also recently launched a campaign to encourage people to donate organs and share their stories using the #DonateMate hashtag.
“It was amazing. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet how well the campaign’s done since it kicked off yesterday [May, 31] – there was a 2,000 per cent increase in traffic to the NHS [National Health Service in England] organ donation website and #DonateMate was trending on Twitter, which is insane,” he added.
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