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A man will be walking more than 200 miles to his girlfriend’s home to raise money towards her treatment for rare Lyme Disease. Nathaniel Pells will trek from his home in Leeds to Bath where India Matthews lives. He will walk an average of 28.5 miles a day for seven days to complete the fund-raising hike.

The couple met in 2016 while back-packing through southeast Asia. India, then 18, was begged by an insect in a restaurant in Thailand and has been struggling with Lyme Disease ever since. The NHS lists Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks, reports LeedsLive.

India, now 24, tried to continue on her backpacking adventure after the bite, but she began experiencing fatigue, a stiff neck and fever. However, her health got worse and a month later her symptoms had worsened.

She began to suffer from blurred vision, seizures, sleep paralysis, sensitivity to noise and bright lights. She failed to get the correct diagnosis or any treatment from hospitals in Vietnam, Singapore, Bali and Japan. When she eventually returned home she was referred to several consultants including neurologists, rheumatologists, tropical disease specialists, and ophthalmologists but without any joy.

After a year and a half at a clinic in Germany she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Nathaniel said: “I’m from Leeds and she’s from Bath we’ve always had a long-distance [relationship] and we’ve always joked about the distance.

“She would joke and say I wish you could walk down to mine. We had a joke that it would be funny to walk that far so I decided to do something original to raise money. I thought I would put it into perspective how she feels on long walks if she has to walk a mile it can run her down the rest of the day.”

India, who has received various treatments since her diagnosis, said: “I’ve been ill for over six years, I got ill when I was 18-years-old with me being 24 now. The past two weeks have been going downhill, it’s been getting to me.

“I’ve been struggling with my symptoms. I can’t do everything people my age are doing. I look very well, I will meet people and they don’t know I’m ill.”

The fundraising page explains: “Over the years India has spent many hours and nights in A&E due to the intensity of her symptoms. She has also suffered from pancreatitis and developed several autoimmune conditions including daily orthostatic hypotension (extremely low blood pressure), and not to mention her mental health has of course taken a big hit.

“India is unable to take part in most ‘normal’ activities and daily tasks most 24-year-old’s can do without thinking. She feels unwell every time she drinks alcohol, her symptoms flare up massively if she has poor sleep, going on a quick 10-minute run could put her in bed for a week with intense headaches and head pressure, any form of transport makes her feel spaced out and dizzy.

“She has to be careful with the food she eats and she can’t focus on things for too long as it causes strange visual and head symptoms (this makes working, staring at a computer, driving and extensive reading incredibly challenging).

“Six years on, India would argue she is 60% better. Although many may not know or realize because she looks ‘well’, she still experiences a broad range of neurological, autonomic, digestive, heart and fatigue symptoms on a daily basis.”

To donate money towards India’s Lyme Disease treatment, click here

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

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