Team Diamond: Jessica’s fight for a life 

Jessica is a very ill 24 year old woman from Cheltenham who needs urgent surgery, testing, and treatment for her multiple complex health conditions, in order to improve her very poor quality of life.

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Jessica is my beautiful, resilient, compassionate, hardworking but very ill 24-year-old daughter, and we are desperately trying to raise money to fund life changing surgery to give Jessica a chance of getting her life back and more importantly a reason to go on living.  

Jessica developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) nearly 10 years ago and year after year her symptoms have got worse to the point where she now has severe ME and is housebound and bedbound most of the time. 

Then in 2019 she was diagnosed with craniocervical instability (CCI) and atlantoaxial instability (AAI). This means she has instability in her neck from the base of her skull down her first 2 or 3 vertebrae. Recently she has also been diagnosed with occult tethered cord syndrome, which means her spinal cord, which should hang freely in the spinal canal and move with your body, is stuck or ‘tethered’ in the lower back region. All these conditions have had a devastating impact on a body already ravaged by ME, and may be the cause of her continual decline.

Her complex health issues cannot be treated by the NHS. Whilst Jessica cannot be cured, there are now surgical options available in Europe which could positively impact her condition and allow her to achieve some of her dreams and be the person she so deserves and wants to be. 

Jessica has dedicated her life to help people, even in the face of her illnesses. She has never been well enough to work a paid job, but previously did voluntary work as a youth ambassador for a mental health charity, worked as a helpline volunteer for a charity, an archery coach, a foodbank volunteer, and as a parish councillor, before further decline meant that she is unable to do any of those things. 

As a mother it’s been heart breaking to watch Jessica deteriorate over the course of the last 10 years since her original ME onset, to the point she could no longer see a reason to go on living. Words cannot explain the wider impact of her illness, not only on Jessica but on me, my husband Steve, or Liv, Jessica’s sister.  Or how we’ve coped with the loss of her will to live or watching her feel hope is slipping away.

However, Jessica now has hope and a reason to want to live. And this is where I, as Jessica's Mum, am asking for your help.

Anyone who knows us as a family, know we don’t like asking for help from others, but we have no option now. We have many friends and family organising fundraising which for obvious reasons is difficult during Covid but time is a critical factor now – any further deterioration will make Jessica’s surgery untenable and the ramifications of that too painful to contemplate! 

So, this is Jessica’s fight for a life ….

How can you help? There are two ways that you can make a difference. 

Firstly, we have a mammoth amount of money to raise, £100K.  Could you help to raise money or donate if you can? 

Secondly, the other really important contribution you can make is to get Jessica’s story heard, so please as one mum to another, one parent to another or purely as an act of human kindness take a moment to simply share Jessica’s story and encourage your friends and their friends to read, like and share too – the kindness of strangers like you will make such a significant difference to Jessica’s life. 

Thank you
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