CDH International’s United Kingdom Ambassador is Jacqui Taylor-Jackson. Jacqui is a CDH survivor.
Jacqui was born with undiagnosed CDH in the 1960s, and her parents were told one day after her birth that she had a 50/50 chance of surviving an operation to repair the hernia. There were no synthetic patches then, so the surgeons had to use “natural materials.” After 30 years of relatively good health and no surgery, she became seriously ill when bowel was discovered in her chest following the birth of her twin daughters by emergency C-section. After a few years of operations and complications (involving perforated bowel, colostomy, a lot of infection, the insertion and removal of a patch), she is now stable. Jacqui has no patch and her chest cavity and organs below are separated just with scar tissue in place of a diaphragm, she is not sure if anyone else has been left like this, but it seems to be working.
Jacqui is a University Associate Professor in Psychology and she enjoys both teaching and research. She does become breathless sometimes when lecturing, but she manages this with showing some short video clips of relevant examples roughly every 15 minutes during a 1 hour lecture to give her lungs a break.
Outside of work, she enjoys walking her Border Collie and spending time with her husband and three grown-up children at their beach hut at Sandbanks, Poole. It’s located at the most amazing beach, so if any of you are in the area please email Jacqui and she can give you the code to use it. Jacqui also loves cycling, but increasingly she has found it difficult to cycle up hills due to her shortness of breath. So last year, she invested in an e-bike which has given her a new lease of life in cycling!