We are gathering together donations and sponsorship in aid of funding life changing, and indeed life saving, treatment for my sister Suzanne Shipley. Suzanne is currently very ill due to the effects of Type 1 diabetes and family and friends are working together to organise various fundraising events throughout the coming months to help raise funds for Suzanne’s treatment.
Here is a message from Suzanne herself, after all nobody can put into words what Suzanne has been through better then Suzanne herself:
And I wanted to tell people of my diabetic journey so far and why I desperately need your help!!
Type 1 is a condition usually diagnosed at a young age I was 14 when I was first diagnosed and had to come to terms with the thought of daily injections, tight blood sugar control and healthy diet for the rest of my life.
Diabetes can lead to many complications and can affect major organs in your body such as:
Long term complications include heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage (neuropathy) affecting most or all of your body. Kidney failure (nephropathy), eye damage (retinopathy), foot damage-leading to serious infections and amputations.
You would be unlucky to have any 1 of these complications!!
Unfortunately I have suffered with all of these.
From my early 20s my life dramatically started to changed, it went from worrying about what I'd wear on a fri/sat night to how I would get through another day or night it has become a constant worry and struggle.
I sadly lost my brother in 2013 aged 31 to type1 diabetes this hit my family really hard the sense of loss was and still is unbearable. We also lost our dad at 39 (the same year I was diagnosed) he died from kidney failure, seeing my dad weak and frail on dialysis is a image il never forget even more so now as I myself was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2012 and ended up on dialysis hooked up to a machine 4 times a week for 4 hours for 2 years something I really struggled with as I was suffering with neuropathy and being restricted when in so much pain is not ideal I eventually had to be put to sleep for my treatment. I was being treated in the same hospital for the same disease as my dad had died from!! After various tests, complications, operations, biopsies, a cardiac arrest and a stint of Bell's palsy which totally ruined the little confidence I had left I was given a kidney transplant donated to me by my lovely brave mother who also took me to and from every single dialysis session.
Everyone including myself thought this would be my new start and give me a better quality of life. It got me off dialysis and saved my life so I don't want to seem to be playing down what my mum did for me as it takes a very courageous and selfless person to do that but my nerve damage over the years had now taken its toll on most of my body. Firstly it had affected my legs and feet (loss of sensation, tingling, burning and awful shocking and stabbing pains)
Today it has taken hold of most of my body. It has left me with muscle weakening, balance and co ordination problems and severe pain daily. I can't remember the last time I went to bed happy not worrying about the pain, getting any sleep that night and if I did would I wake up in the morning!
Also with the nerve damage I no longer feel or recognise when my blood sugars could be low (hypo unawareness) this leaves me vulnerable to slip into a diabetic coma in my sleep this already has resulted in me receiving emergency care 3 times this year.
After being told by several specialist nhs staff (who have done a brilliant job keeping me alive so far) that my nerves could and would affect major arteries resulting in my heart suddenly stopping day or night there is not much more they could do but treat the symptoms and put me on high doses of pregablin and Amtripiline the mind numbing zombie tablets I like to call them.
I was determined to look elsewhere for help, I had too much to live for to sit around and wait to die so I took to the internet........I came across stem cell treatment, it sounded promising as I'd heard of pancreatic stem cell treatment as I'm on the pancreas transplant list. I came across embryonic stem cells which could offer help to many people living with nerve damage, promising to even reverse complications even tho it was a few years away from practice in the uk I came across clinics in Beijing, America and the Ukraine I was so excited by this miracle cure it gave me hope again. So we decided to start fund raising family, friends and my boyfriend Andy set up a justgiving page Andy would ask people to sponsor him to walk from Edinburgh to South wales, and family and friends organised raffles, fun days, fun runs, charity football matches etc whilst my sisters and I researched different clinics abroad.
Some clinics came back with really bad reviews the others we decided to send my medical records and unfortunately I was described as a complicated case and I wasn't viable.
I was devastated. All hope drained from me.
I pulled myself together and with help from family and friends we did a lot more research and sent out a lot more emails to professors and specialists for advice.
I was told to seek help in the micro vascular and neurology field, and so I did.
In order to get the very best specialist treatment I needed we decided a private clinic stay in a micro vascular and neurological centre was now the way forward but it does come at a cost and that is why I need your help, I feel time is running out for me and I don't want to just sit back and watch that happen anything you can donate will be gladly appreciated by me, my mum and sisters, Andy, and my
Friends and family.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this ️
As you can see, my sister Suzanne has been through so much in the past 6 years, I have memories of a healthy happy Suzanne but they are only memories and are fading fast, so please help by donating and helping all our family make fresh new memories of the happy healthy Suzanne once again. Suzanne does not have any children but she has 2 beautiful niece's who she adores with all her heart and truth be told have been her inspiration to keep fighting this mammoth battle. One of her nieces is 11 month old Sienna, her other niece is my daughter Maisie who is 5. Maisie wrote a little something and asked If I would post it on here so here it is.........
"I love my auntie Suz, she is my best friend and she is a great artist and I love her and she helps me with things that I struggle with in art. She is very talented and I love her and she always makes sure I am okay as well.
it makes me sad when she is not well, I feel really sad that she cant play with me, I wish I could help make her better. something that makes me glad about her is when she gets better she can play with me and she can see better and she can play with me more. When she is poorly I feel quite sad because she cant be happy until she is better."
Maisie Rose Shipley (age 5)
Thank you for taking the time to read this xxx