AN ANNUAL charity music festival held in honour of a young Wimborne cystic fibrosis sufferer this year celebrated her survival following a lifesaving lung transplant.
Kate Hennessey was at death’s door when last year’s Hen Fest took place in her parents’ back garden.
“She was on the transplant list and one of the consultants had said she was too ill to get a transplant. We knew she only had a matter of weeks,” said her mum Gail.
“It was great to have all her friends there and we thought it would be a lovely way to remember her.”
Three days later Kate was rushed into hospital, where she continued to deteriorate. She had been kept alive by a heart lung bypass ecmo machine for a week before she was given her new lungs at Harefield Hospital last August.
There were complications after the operation and Kate was not allowed home until just before Christmas.
Gail said: “This year, the event has been bigger, and in terms of spirit, very much about celebration. Kate’s an amazing person. You couldn’t believe the amount she’s suffered, but she’s a fighter.
“Three weeks ago she caught an infection. We were told she wouldn’t get through the night and were told to say our goodbyes. They put a morphine drip on to ease her through, but it wasn’t adequate.
“By morning she had turned a corner and 10 days later she was back home. She put a message of Facebook saying: ‘Dear Lord Death, beat you this time, better think of another way to kill me. I’m off down the pub’.
“She’s funny, full of life, and really determined to do anything within her power to make those lungs work, not just for her but also for the donor’s family.”
Gail and her husband Mike started Hen Fest three years ago and this year hope to have made around £6,000 for cystic fibrosis research and furnishing a new patients’ room at Harefield.
“This was the last one in the garden because we can’t accommodate all the people that want to come,” said Gail.
“We had 250 people here and it’s not a big garden. Next year we’ll be going to Dean’s Court in Wimborne.”