Get P!nk to the party for young hospice patient

A teenage patient at St Andrew’s Hospice in Grimsby is hoping to be tickled P!nk for an 18th birthday party that experts told her she would not see.

Caitlyn McChord, from Grimsby, turns 18 in August and mum Michelle is looking for a pop star to mark the special occasion for her music-mad daughter.

Michelle explained why the landmark birthday is extra special for all of Caitlyn’s family and why they are hoping for P!nk or another famous popstar to do something special for the day.

She said: “Caitlyn suffers from mitochondrial disease and has already outlived her life expectancy – we had previously been told that she would not make it past 13 years of age.

“She is also fed through Total Parental Nutrition (TPN) because she is unable to process food through the usual eating and digestion method.

“We were told that Caitlyn would only survive through TPN for five years but she has now been on it seven years and counting.

“Her low immunity means that the threat of a viral infection is always very high because she just does not have the system to fight it off.

“She also suffers from epilepsy and her seizures have to be managed accordingly, which can be very difficult.”

One of the things that Caitlyn enjoys most in life is music and she lists P!nk, Justin Timblerlake and Little Mix amongst some of her favourite artists.

Michelle explained how it would be a dream come true to get one of these acts involved in Caitlyn’s birthday in some manner.

“When her favourite artists come onto the television, Caitlyn really becomes expressive and she always has a huge smile on her face – sometimes it is the only time she actively communicates.

“We really want to make her 18th birthday special, especially as we were told she would not make it through to this point.

“It is an important landmark for all the family and there will be people travelling from all over the country for the special day.”

Michelle continued: “We had previously wanted to take Caitlyn to a concert but she is hypersensitive to other noises around her and touch too, so being in a big crowd wouldn’t be good for her.

“If we could get one of her favourite acts involved in her birthday then it would just make it that extra bit special.

“P!nk (left) is her absolute favourite and she always smiles when her music is played.”

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialised compartments present in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).

Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.

The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.

To help support Caitlyn on social media, you can use the hashtag #getpinktotheparty.