Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Ally has the recipe for raising awareness of rare illness

Ally Whan with her book Ally's Racey Recipes. US4508-119A0DROMARA woman Ally Whan will be cooking up a storm tomorrow (Saturday) when she launches her new cook book in aid of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

24-year-old Ally was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension in November 2006 and she decided to collect together hundreds of different recipes for her book entitled 'Ally's Racey Recipes', which will see proceeds going towards research for the illness.

As Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Week runs from November 9 to 15, Ally is hoping her recipes will go down a treat with local people and help to raise funds towards finding new treatments for the condition, when she launches her book in Ballynahinch Leisure Centre. Ally explained: "In its simplest terms Pulmonary Hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs. The heart is not designed to pump against these high pressures and over time it starts to 'fail'.

"It is a rare but devasting disease. It currently only has one definitive cure: a lung or heart and lung transplant."

Ally continued: "I was diagnosed with the disease in November 2006. In September 2006 I came down with a chesty cough that I couldn't get rid of. I had to stop halfway up the stairs in work and I couldn't get a breath.

"The doctor referred me to the hospital and I stayed in the Royal Victoria Hospital for six weeks, where I was diagnosed. I was then sent to Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, which is a specialist unit for Pulmonary Hypertension."

Because of the rarity of the disease, which affects one person in a million, there are no specialist treatment centres or support groups in Northern Ireland, leaving Ally having to travel to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne for treatment.

"I am on various tablets and a special nebuliser seven times a day to keep the pressure at bay," she said. 'They thought I might need a heart and lung transplant but thankfully that is away down the list and if the medication continues to do what it's doing I'll not need it."

Ally came up with the idea of creating a cook book in March when she was leafing through her mum's collection of books. "I noticed that a lot of the cook books were in aid of something, so I decided to do something similar for Pulmonary Hypertension. It is not a very well known disease and I wanted to raise awareness of it as well as raising funds.

"I typed up letters appealing for recipes which I gave to my family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours and I received hundreds of recipes back which I typed up. A friend then approached me about helping

with the printing. I recently received the final version back and I am more than pleased with it.

"The book costs 8 and the entire proceeds go to the charity. It has 354 recipes, everything from starters to soups, main courses and desserts, I'm chuffed with it."

Prior to her diagnosis Ally had never heard of Pulmonary Hypertension, and that is something she is hoping to change among the general public.

"I had never heard tell of it," she explained. "It restricts you an awful lot in what you do, it restricts exercise and I get tired

very easily. The disease mainly affects women, although children can get it too.

"I hope the proceeds from this book can go towards finding new medication to avoid the transplant route," Ally concluded.

Ally's book will be available to purchase from the craft fair which will be held at Ballynahinch Leisure Centre tomorrow from 10am to 4pm, alternatively if you would like to purchase 'Ally's Racey Recipes' please telephone her on 07738590135 or 97 532151.

Ulster Star