I am doing this fundraiser because I want to do my best to save my best friend's life.
Please help us raise £25,000 to go towards Ren's ongoing treatments, including funding a trip to Washington DC to see the best Lyme Disease specialist in the world.
When I first met Ren 8 years ago he was dressed as a pirate. That pretty much sums him up!
Bursting with energy and life with a fun loving spirit.. this crazy, relentlessly optimistic, confident, outgoing Welsh boy was unlike anyone I'd ever met before! I was the complete opposite to him - shy, insecure and introverted - but somehow we just clicked. I've had some of the best times of my life with this boy!!
Over the years we've become like brother and sister, always looking out for each other, with a completely unbreakable bond. He has always stood by me. His huge heart, magnetic personality and undeniable, ridiculous musical talents make him completely unique and I am incredibly proud to call him my best friend! :)
This is why it has been particularly tough seeing a side of Ren that most people don't see.
Over the past 8 years I've seen his health gradually deteriorate.
I've seen him go from bouncing around singing on stage, totally in his element, to having his life completely paralysed by M.E. and Lyme Disease. Cupboards overflowing with medicine, injecting himself with immune modulating drugs daily, tears of despair, countless trips to the doctor, days on end bed bound, a diet that has become limited to under 10 foods, dreams full of hope and promise stolen from him. A life put on hold.
He would be completely bed bound 24/7 if he didn't take the 14 different kinds of medication & the injections that he needs daily to get by.
I've lived in 4 different houses with Ren in both Bath and Brighton, so I've seen what his illness has done to him on a daily basis over the years. Times that always haunt me are when I found him crying on the ground in the centre of Bath, totally in a state of despair after a hospital appointment. Although last year was by far the scariest experience, when he called me after a treatment backfired on him..he sounded like a completely different person, stuttering and repeating my name over and over..the treatment had caused him to lose control of his speech and he was trying to say his goodbyes as he felt like he was dying. It was so scary, but I refused to entertain the idea that we may lose him. I went straight to his mum's in Wales where he was staying and have never seen someone so weak.
M.E. and Lyme Disease are invisible illnesses, I think thats what makes it so difficult. Things can look like they are going okay on the surface, but underneath it's a very different story. He is exceptionally good at putting on a brave face which is why it's so hard for anyone in good health to relate to.
I've seen it all unfold in front of my eyes and I still find it so hard to imagine what he must be going through.
Around £100k spent trying to help him get better...7 years misdiagnosed...
Ren was misdiagnosed with Bipolar and M.E. for 7 years before the doctors realised Lyme Disease was causing his debilitating symptoms. Because it has been left so long it is very difficult to treat and he has been left with neurological damage.
His situation is now out of the expertise of the NHS, which is why Ren needs to travel to specialists in Lyme to have a chance of returning to a normal life. In short, no one has a clue what to do to help him, so he's had to take it into his own hands, which is why he's spent over £100k and countless hours of research trying to make himself better.
He's tried a ridiculous amount of treatments, therapies and healing - to view a list click here. He even went to New York to see an M.E. specialist (fully funded by friends and fans of his music) in 2012 and 2013 and we've just come back from Brussels to take on more tests with the world specialist in M.E. (who diagnosed him with Lyme only in December last year) - this shows that he has to go to great lengths to even get a glimmer of hope...and even then there's a lot of confusion.
Music career dreams abandoned
It's been heartbreaking to have watched how many amazing high profile musical opportunities Ren has had to turn down (including having to drop a record deal with Sony Music) over the years due to his illness and how close he got to living out his dreams just as his illness took hold. He's watched all of his friends follow their passions (many in music) while he's just been constantly fighting disease and trying to find a way to get better.
The bigger picture for Lyme
Ren runs a Facebook support network for other Lyme and M.E. sufferers and his inbox is always full of messages from people all over the world reaching out to him, and he is always helping lift them up, advising or giving them hope! It's shocking just how many people are under the radar suffering with these illnesses who go unnoticed.
For me and everyone close to him this isn't just about Ren now - this is a global fight for everyone who is suffering from Lyme Disease.
"Lyme Disease is one of the fastest growing illnesses on the planet; six times more prevalent than AIDs, twice as many cases than Breast Cancer and it can leave people crippled if not diagnosed early. It's transported by ticks and everyone is at risk."
Sadly, like in Ren's case, because of its broad list of symptoms it is often misdiagnosed as things like M.S., M.E., Depression, Arthritis, ALS to name a few and Ren strongly advises for anyone with these illnesses to go and get tested for Lyme Disease.
There is a very desperate need for better training for doctors so that they can spot and diagnose the condition early, as well as better and more reliable testing and for research for a cure, so that people like Ren don't have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for some hope of living a normal life."
Thank you, Thank You, Thank You <3
To anyone who is able to donate to help Ren, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I truly believe that when we give to others, it comes back to us tenfold <3
If you are unable to give financially right now, but would like to help in some other way..whether it's a skill, time, or anything else...I'd love to hear from you as we have lots of different fundraisers coming up ([email protected]) <3
All the love and appreciation in the world - together we WILL beat this and get Ren better :)