They say that friends are the family you choose and in the case of Jes Brockie and Bec Arena, this could be no truer. Best friends since they were children, their lives would become forever bonded with one decision.
Bec, a sufferer of cystic fibrosis - a genetic disease that affects the digestive system and lungs - desperately wanted children but knew that carrying a child would be difficult, even life-threatening. It was then that Jes, a mother of two, stepped in and offered to be her surrogate.
Bec and her husband, Gareth, were ecstatic when Jes fell pregnant in May, but then tragedy struck. The average life expectancy for someone born today with Cystic Fibrosis is 37 and Bec and Gareth hoped that with Bec’s good lung function, they would have a few years of reprieve to raise their child. But in August, Bec began to deteriorate rapidly, and in September, four months before the birth of their son, Bec passed away, aged 30.
In January this year, Jes gave birth to Bec and Gareth’s son, Rixon, the name chosen by Bec before her passing.
There is currently no cure for Cystic Fibrosis and despite the fact that it’s the most common life-threatening, recessive, genetic condition affecting Australian children, research is seriously underfunded. This month, in honour of Bec, we are proud to support Cystic Fibrosis Australia (CFA) to raise awareness and funds through our Awareness Bracelet. We’re breaking tradition a little and rather that using the colour of CFA, we have selected this beautiful blue, to represent Bec’s favourite colour.
- A baby is born with Cystic Fibrosis every four days.
- There are over one million carriers of Cystic Fibrosis in Australia (that’s 1 in 25), most don’t even know they are a carrier.
- A person with Cystic Fibrosis can take up to 60 pills a day, endures daily physio and is admitted to hospital several times per year.
- Cystic Fibrosis is the most common life-threatening, recessive, genetic condition affecting Australian children. There is currently no cure.
- The average lifespan of someone born with cystic fibrosis today is 37.
- CFA is committed to improving clinical practice and patient outcomes with the aim of extending life expectancy from 37 to 50 years by 2025.