Published: 10/03/2018 13:00 - Updated: 11/03/2018 06:41

Easter Ross woman steps out on incurable illness fundraiser


Gemma Cleland (left) with mum Karen Campbell, step=dad Derek and brother Graeme.
Gemma Cleland (left) with mum Karen, step-dad Derek and brother Graeme.

A ROSS-SHIRE woman is bidding to raise awareness of the incurable illness affecting her step-dad.

Gemma Cleland wants to boost the profile of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) which affects three million people worldwide but which is frequently misdiagnosed and confused with other conditions.

Gemma’s step-dad Derek Campbell, a 51-year-old non-smoker, was diagnosed last year with the lung condition and has gone from a normal fit and healthy adult to someone who can’t walk far, has memory loss and is unable to work or drive.

The condition is often confused with cancer or tuberculosis.

Treatment of CPA is most often using antifungal drugs, which can be effective in limiting the advance of the disease though cannot cure it.

Gemma, who like her step-dad is from the Alness area, said: "Unfortunately, Derek has been found to have a very complicated case affecting both lungs and it is inoperable.

"He receives antifungal therapy to try and slow the infection down, but has already been found to be resistant to one of the main medications used to treat the condition.

"This is why even although I’m not a runner I have chosen this challenge to try and raise funds for the charity FIT (Fungal Infection Trust), in the hope that with further research and awareness one day a cure may be found. I really just wanted to raise awareness of this horrible rare disease and hope that the money helps with research to find a cure if possible or better medications to control it."

Gemma will take on a 5K in Inverness on Sunday. Her fundraising page can be found at https:/

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