Big-hearted readers of the Telegraph & Argus have rallied round to help a 20-year-old lung disease sufferer desperate for help.

After seeing the story about brave Holly May Humphrey, well-wishers came forward to help her buy a £7,000 ‘vest’ which helps her to breathe.

One Baildon businessman – who wants to remain anonymous – has offered to bridge whatever gap remains after other donations have been made. This guarantees the 20-year-old’s purchase of the vest, which is not funded on the NHS.

Earlier, a Bradford councillor pledged £1,000 to the appeal to buy the life-changing equipment.

And news of the kindness left Holly lost for words. “Wow!,” she said. “I am virtually speechless at how kind people have been.”

She said a few people had offered small amounts of money and someone offered to hire a venue to stage a fundraising event. “It’s amazing,” said Holly, who lives in Queensbury and suffers from a chronic lung disease which has left her unable to work and often wheelchair-bound.

The Vest Airway Clearance System creates chest movements which shift mucous around the lungs, helping the sufferer to breathe. Two years ago, Holly – who is also a brittle asthmatic – was given the equipment by makers Hill-Rom with a view to eventual purchase. But she could not afford the monthly fees and there was a risk the Vest might have to be reclaimed if £1,400 was not paid.

An appeal was set up, but only attracted about £700. Calling for help, Holly’s friend Michele Cavallin said: “We are in despair.”

Before her condition worsened, Holly had been a university student, a Taekwondo fan and a carer at a Halifax nursing home.

“I just want to live independently like any 20-year-old,” she said. “The vest has really helped me. Since using it, I have only had pneumonia twice.”

The businessman said: “I am willing to make up the cost of the vest from whatever else is raised. I want the appeal to draw as much as possible from other sources as I feel that is good for community spirit.”

Councillor Paul Cromie (Ind, Queensbury) is to give £1,000 to Holly’s appeal. He said: “My manifesto is to donate my allowances from the Council to the community. I have done this since I was elected in 2006. I am always on the lookout for good causes.

“I have about £1,000 left in the kitty and when I saw Holly’s story in the T&A I thought: what a good way to spend the last amount.

News of the businessman’s offer came on a bad morning for her health-wise. She said: “I had not been feeling too well but this has made my day.”