Aiming high

Hanna McKearnen, who has a complex gastrointestinal disorder, will be taking part in a skydive for charity.
Hanna McKearnen, who has a complex gastrointestinal disorder, will be taking part in a skydive for charity.
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HANNA McKearnen only wanted to do two things when she was bed-bound due to a complex illness.

The teenager, from Lytham, dreamed of being able to one day do a skydive and swim with sharks.

And at the weekend, she will be able to achieve one of her ambitions, when she throws herself out of a plane in aid of a charity which helped her.

Hanna, 19, will be taking part in a sponsored skydive, at Sibson Airfield in Peterborough, to help the Free Kicks Foundation.

Back in 2009, when she was very poorly, the charity arranged for her to have a special VIP day and be a mascot at Bloomfield Road.

She had chance to spend time with Brett Ormerod, her favourite player, and thoroughly enjoyed the “amazing experience”.

Hanna – who doctors initially thought had ME, but has since found out has a complex gastrointestinal disorder – said: “They made sure I had an amazing day.

“I wanted to give something back. I knew how amazing the experience was for me, and how much brighter it made things for me when things were hard for both me and my family, so I wanted to be able to help give that chance to others too.

“Signing up for the skydive gave me something to aim for.”

Hanna’s condition means she can eat very little normal food.

Instead, she has to be fed through a tube twice a day and can only eat very small amounts.

Eating can put her in a great deal of pain, and eating the wrong thing can lead to weeks of illness and recovery. It means family meals are largely ruled out.

But Hanna, who has been studying for her A-levels at Blackpool and The Fylde College, is grateful for the care she has received.

She said: “Obviously, I can’t eat like everyone else now. Family meals are difficult, if I try and take part in them, it leaves me in crippling pain.

“I have a tube fitted into my stomach, and I am fed overnight with a special anti-allergen formula that is easier for me to digest.

“I had been on steroids and things had really started to improve, but I relapsed several times, the side-effects were horrible, I began having problems with my kidneys.

“I am now back up to a healthy weight, though, thanks to the special formula and I am much healthier than I was.

“The support I have had from Wythenshawe Hospital has been brilliant. My tutors at college have been incredibly supportive.

“I think it has helped greatly in the way my illness has affected me.”

To sponsor Hanna, log onto