A two-year-old girl from Onchan will be able to see her parents get married thanks to a sophisticated piece of medical equipment which a charity helped pay for.
Lola Ball who lives with her parents Bernie Ball and Lee Johnson, and brother and sister Jamie, 10 and Caitlin, 14, on School Road, has a rare lung condition which means she is reliant on having a ready oxygen supply.
Usually she relies on oxygen cylinders, which would have made it impossible for her to see her mother and father tie the knot in Las Vegas in a few days’ time.
But thanks to the portable concentrator machine, she can travel and have a readily available oxygen supply when she needs it.
‘The cylinders are really quite substantial in size and weight, so we could not physically carry around the volume that she would need while we were away,’ said her mother, Bernie.
Lola was diagnosed with a rare condition, called interstitial lung disease, when she was eight months old and has to spend about 15 hours a day on oxygen, mostly while she is asleep in bed.
‘We are going to Vegas to get married but we had to wait until Lola was two and able to travel. During the flight she will need extra oxygen because of the altitude, that doubles her requirements,’ she said.
In fact, both oxygen cylinders and the concentrator are impractical on the aeroplane but the airline will allow them to use the plane’s own oxygen supply for Lola during the flight. The big advantage of the concentrator machine is having a supply on demand in America without having to transport oxygen cylinders there.
‘It gives us a lot of freedom when we are there,’ said Bernie.
‘And even if we were able to fly with the cylinders, the regulations demand they are empty and stored in the hold. The concentrator is small enough to travel as cabin luggage.’
The trip will be a welcome break for the family after having to cancel a trip to Turkey last year when Lola was taken ill.
The charity Breathe Easy Isle of Man donated the oxygen concentrator to Noble’s Hospital to help patients who need oxygen when travelling off island. It can run from batteries, 12 volt or mains supply.