Jodie has always been bubbly, high-spirited and ambitious, but over the last few years the underlying suffering she has been struggling with - and trying so hard to shield us from - has caused tremendous sadness for our family.
After years of hurdles and challenges, misdiagnoses and tests, we finally now know the enemy we are facing. Jodie has been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme disease, including Neuroborreliosis, Bartonella and Babesia co-infections along with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Jodie is only 25 years old, but has been housebound and mostly bed bound for the past year, needing 24-hour care. She has a range of debilitating physical and neurological symptoms, relying on her parents and aids for her everyday living.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection typically transmitted by ticks. It can affect any organ of the body, including the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, the heart and the gut. Left untreated it can prove extremely serious, and potentially fatal.
Jodie's Lyme has passed her blood brain barrier, impacting her different body systems and causing a severely depressed immune system. Without appropriate treatment fast, Jodie could develop life-threatening complications.
Unfortunately there is not enough research into Chronic Lyme disease and their co-infections to establish an effective long term treatment protocol under the current U.K. medical system (read more here).
Fortunately, despite the lack of treatment options within the NHS, there are successfully trialed private options. Our aim is to make these options available to Jodie.
My parents and Jodie have spent around £13,000 collectively over the past few years navigating her rapidly declining health. As a lot of businesses have experienced, my parents have also had to deal with financial loss during these troubling times. We are hoping you can help us to raise funds to supplement the ongoing costs undertaken by my parents.
The sooner we can access treatment for Jodie, the more positive the outcome will be.
Seeing this debilitating disease progressively break down the same beautiful and loving sister I drew my own strength from has broken my heart.
I believe with our collective effort we can provide Jodie the treatment she needs, and bring her back to her full vibrant self.
It is also our wish that this website raises awareness of this devastating disease, aiding positive change and movements towards a standard long-term treatment in the future within our medical system. Due to the lack of awareness, people often go years undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
A message from Jodie
My symptoms initially started 8 years ago at college, first with GI issues. I saw a string of GPs and consultants over the years but no one could find what was wrong. This is mostly due to the lack of research and awareness surrounding Lyme disease.
The words 'anxiety', 'student life' and 'hormonal' were thrown around more than a few times, and I felt silly for even seeking help for my symptoms. So I carried on running my way through life, not listening to my body, acting as if 'everything was fine'. I became brilliant at masking my symptoms. On the outside I looked healthy and happy, but on the inside, I was in a lot of pain, suffering from extreme brain fog, derealisation and exhaustion - unknowingly battling a debilitating invisible illness which was getting worse and worse.
It wasn’t until this year that I was diagnosed with Late / Chronic Lyme disease after being mostly bed bound for the past 12 months, being misdiagnosed with severe ME, unable to care for myself.
I crave the small pleasures this wonderful life offers us, as well as having the ability to be independent again. I have remained positive throughout thanks to my wonderful family and friends; without them, I would be in a very dark place.
My reality is that I am very ill and getting new symptoms each month. I live in a blacked out quiet room due to sound and light sensitivities, in bed, craving the day I can go for a walk outside, or call a friend for a chat.
I am running out of time. I am scared the Lyme and my co-infections will cause irreversible damage to my different body systems causing further health complications which I feel my body is not strong enough to deal with.
Any help you can give would make a huge difference to my recovery, but it is my main wish that this story raises awareness of chronic/ late lyme disease, and highlights the thousands of people suffering with this debilitating disease.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, sending lots of love.
Please click here to see what Jodie will use these funds for.