A British woman developed a rare neurological condition after bending over to pick up a party balloon and must use a wheelchair when she leaves her home.
Claire Brown, 27, of Salisbury, England, is now fundraising on GoFundMe to help cover the cost of multidisciplinary rehabilitation and has raised over $8,600 of her $72,000 goal.
Brown was cleaning up after a Halloween party at her home in 2014 when her back went out, The Sun reported. According to her GoFundMe page, she developed acute lower back pain. Subsequently, she suffered continuing pain that eventually led to leg tremors, myoclonic jerks and loss of bladder function, for which she had to have a catheter fitted in July 2015.
Brown was diagnosed with Functional Neurological syndrome with tremors. According to Functional Neurological Disorder Hope (FND Hope), a nonprofit that aims to promote awareness of the condition and provide support for affected individuals, the disorder is caused by a problem with nervous system function. The organization says the condition is thought to derive from the brain’s inability to send and receive signals properly. FND Hope notes that, for patients, getting the diagnosis can be a long and difficult journey.
According to her GoFundMe page, Brown relies on her family and friends for everyday support, and uses crutches around the house, but she must use a wheelchair outdoors.
"I can't sit for very long, and when I lay down my muscles jerk. Plus my memory is also really bad,” she told The Sun. Brown also suffers blurred vision.
Her general practitioner referred her to Glenside Hospital’s Neuro Rehabilitation Unit, which suggested she undergo a 15-week in-patient stay, but the National Health Service (NHS) reportedly refused her funding for rehabilitation from the National Health Service (NHS). According to The Sun, the treatment would cost $72,441. The NHS also reportedly denied funding for treatment at Southampton General Hospital.
Brown herself worked for the NHS in November 2014 as a screening technician.
"I've spoken to people on forums with the same condition who have been through the same thing— it helps as I feel less alone,” she told The Sun.
With her fundraising effort, which she calls her “last resort,” Brown has already received support from more than 200 people in eight days.
“Your generosity and contributions are greatly appreciated,” she wrote on the site.