TWO Huddersfield youngsters are smiling proof that people can cope with cystic fibrosis.

It is a challenge for thousands of people across the UK, but young Jennie and Matthew Roberts are shining examples of what can be achieved.

The disease affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.

John and Sue Roberts’ daughter and son both go through daily treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) .

They both use inhalers and nebulisers to lubricate their lungs and have to take a range of pills including preventative antibiotics and vitamin supplements.

On top of the heavy medication doses they need daily physiotherapy to help clear their lungs.

But despite the debilitating problems and arduous regime the siblings have shrugged off their problems and are both thriving athletes.

Matthew, 11, loves triathlon, climbing and kayaking, while 10-year-old Jennie has found a love for two wheels and is now one of the top cyclists in the country for her age

Two years ago she was the national champion and last year she was pipped to second place in the under 10 age group.

Having competed all over the country she is now preparing to take on another top event closer to home, The Examiner Charity Challenge.

Jennie, Matthew, and mum Sue will be cycling in the 22nd Charity Challenge on Sunday, May 22 in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

The trust is currently pushing to raise £6m for the world’s first gene therapy trial.

The Roberts family will be taking on the eight-mile Family Road Ride, one of eight challenges available for fundraisers.

They include four walks of between four and 12 miles, three bike rides of varying lengths and a wheelchair or pram push.

Dad, John Roberts, said his youngest had been excelling at her new found passion.

He said: “She’s one of those people who has a go at anything.

“One day her uncle came back from a ride and he was covered in mud from head to foot and she thought ‘I will have a go at that’.

“For the past couple of years she’s been competing in the British Schools Cycling Association National Championships and going well, she’s got some good results.

“She loves bikes, she does all disciplines, mountain biking, circuits and hill climbs.

“She was in Southampton competing only last week.”

In the 1960s CF sufferers had a life expectancy of just five-years.

Nowadays most can expect to live well into their 30s due to improved drugs and treatments and Mr Roberts said both his youngsters were determined to lead active lives.

He added: “Our two are fortunate that it doesn’t affect their day-to-day lives.

“Both go to normal schools.

“It doesn’t limit them as they’re both used to competing and they’re used to being in sport, we just have to change our lifestyles around them.

“They’re strong as long as we can keep the food going down.

“They need about a third more calories than you or I do so there’s lots of chocolate bars.

“It’s funny as schools have these healthy eating programmes but for our two the ideal meal is burgers and chips followed by chocolate pudding with cream on top.

“Cystic fibrosis causes a total transformation in your outlook on life. Our philosophy is pack in as much as possible every day.

“It makes for a busy time, but it’s the way we choose to live.”

To enter The Examiner Charity Challenge pick up a form at our offices on Queen Street South or go to

Deadline for entry is tomorrow, Friday, May 13.