GoFundMe campaign set up to help fund treatment for Benwick mum whose legs and face swell up like balloons

PUBLISHED: 14:06 11 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:15 11 July 2016

Suzanna with her family

Suzanna with her family

Archant

A Benwick mum who suffers from a rare illness caused by her having scarlet fever as a child is aiming to raise funds for specialist treatment.

Suzanna's swollen feetSuzanna's swollen feet

The scarlet fever left 30-year-old Suzanna Stevenson’s lymphatic system badly damaged causing a life long illness known as lymphedema.

The condition causes her body to retain fluid resulting in swelling in one or more extremities. Unfortunately for Suzanna, it has affected both of her legs, feet and ankles.

The swelling also occasionally occurs in her face which leads to severely bloodshot eyes and bruising.

Suzanna said: “As you can imagine, coping with this as a young girl of 12 years old was not easy, it’s safe to say it has had a huge impact on my confidence and self-esteem throughout my life.

Suzanna's legsSuzanna's legs

“I never finished secondary school due to being too ill. I had a lot of facial swelling at the time too and looked like I had been beaten up most of the time.

“I did, however, go to college later on and then on to Anglia Ruskin University where I graduated with a degree in social work.

“I made the choice to live a life as normal as possible and I try not to let it bring me down, but it does.

“I can’t help but cry when my shoes don’t fit, or when my son asks if we can go swimming but I’m too embarrassed to get my legs out in public.

Suzanna's two childrenSuzanna's two children

“It’s these little things that seem to hurt more than the actual physical pain that comes at the end of each day when I’m all swollen.”

Suzanna struggles on a daily basis to manage her condition and has had to be hospitalised on countless occasions for urgent treatment.

The mum of two said: “It is safe to say that treatment for my illness under the NHS has been very limited as it lacks research and is an underfunded area. Sadly, the most I have received to manage my illness to date has been uncomfortable compression garments.”

However, Suzanna said: “I have discovered there is now an operation available that involves connecting the lymphatics to veins to enable fluid to bypass the damaged lymph nodes move around the body as it should.

Suzanna with her daughterSuzanna with her daughter

“I want to argue my case to my GP about having this treatment under the NHS. The initial consultation and scan costs £650, this will provide me with a detailed specialist report which I will need to help me win my case.

“It’s not easy to ask for help, or share emotional and personal stories with others. However, after 17 years of suffering, effective treatment has finally been developed and this is my time.

“This consultation could be a life-changing opportunity for me and my family and that’s why I have set up a GoFundMe page.”

To help boost Suzanna’s funds, visit www.gofundme.com/Microsurgery4Suzy

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