Victoria's oldest cystic fibrosis survivor turns 70

By Jennifer Greive
Updated November 2 2012 - 5:54am, first published July 8 2011 - 4:57am
YOUNG AT HEART: Brenda Hughes, oldest member of Cystic Fibrosis Victoria, enjoying her 70th birthday party last night. Picture: Zhenshi van der Klooster

BRENDA Hughes may have been celebrating her 70th birthday yesterday, but for her it felt like she was 21 again.Mrs Hughes had even more to celebrate than most people who have lived to see seven different decades.Mrs Hughes is the oldest member of Cystic Fibrosis Victoria, having lived with the disease all of her life.“I’m very fortunate, but I’ve never felt like I was any different to anyone else,” she said.“I keep busy and manage fine – I’m very lucky.”Mrs Hughes said she was “stunned” to discover almost 100 of her friends and family gathered at Ballarat City Fire Brigade yesterday night to surprise her on her birthday.“I’m the hardest person in the world to surprise — but I never had a clue,” she said.Mrs Hughes’ husband Max spent six weeks organising the party with the help of one of Mrs Hughes’ friends.But, his plans were almost foiled at the last minute by a very unlikely culprit.Mr Hughes had arranged for Kamahl to phone his wife on the night of her party, but a mix-up meant the singer had contacted Mrs Hughes a night early.“If you’ve ever seen a grown man cry — that was almost me last night,” Mr Hughes said.“I couldn’t believe it — it almost spoiled the surprise, but luckily she didn’t realise it was him.”