When Pippa Kent underwent a double lung transplant at 27 she knew life would never be the same again.
Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at two years old, Pippa was healthy for most of her life until her lungs started struggling in 2016. Three months later she was taken to hospital where doctors decided she was too weak to be operated on, and taken off the transplant list. She was put on a cocktail of medication in a bid to get her strong and by April 2017 she was back on the list. Just five days later she had the transplant. She said: “I was incredibly lucky. Some people wait for years but it happened so quickly for me.”
Post-op was a difficult time for Pippa, whose boyfriend is from Edinburgh. She developed post-transplant lymphoma, a cancer associated with the procedure, and part of her lung collapsed. “My recovery was not as smooth as some”, Pippa said. “But I was lucky I was at home 13 days after the operation.”
Pippa could be described as a foodie, she loves to cook and has an impressive collection of recipe books to inspire her. So when she was advised by doctors that she would have to radically alter her diet to support her recovery, and stick to it for the rest of her life, she was determined to keep food joyous: “With CF I could pretty much eat what I wanted and high calorie, fatty food was encouraged as it’s hard for many sufferers to keep weight on.”
Her new diet had to be tailored for immune suppression – an issue not only for transplant patients but for people with cancer, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. She said: “I’ve always enjoyed food and at first it was daunting having to think so much about what I could and couldn’t eat.”
Now she’s raising funds to publish a recipe book that will help others eat to support their health in an enjoyable way. She said: “I could have survived on the NHS guidelines but food is a big part of my enjoyment and I wanted to eat well.
“I felt so lucky to have been given a second chance I felt it was not worth risking eating badly.”
Looking for books and blogs to help, she drew a blank. So, armed with a list of barred ingredients she used her background in food and drink PR to reach out to well-known chefs for advice. Her idea of creating tasty recipes in line with the conditon was very well received and soon she was planning the book, titled Now What Can I Eat.
But now Pippa needs help to raise the funds needed to print it. She said: “The book we’re creating will be amazing. The recipes are from the best chefs in the UK and are delicious.” A slice of the money raised will be donated to two transplant charities. She said: “I am so thankful to my donor and their family as without them none of this would be possible.”
To donate go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/nowwhatcanieat/now-what-can-i-eat-the-book