Ex-army medic Katrina Brown can have life-saving treatment - but at £90,000 cost.
A FORMER army medic battling a rare condition has been told by doctors she can have lifesaving treatment – but it comes with a £90,000 price tag.
Katrina Brown went through a week of gruelling tests in Chicago to see whether she was fit enough to be treated for systemic sclerosis.
The condition attacks all her organs and in time proves fatal. A procedure using her own stem cells to reboot her immune system is available in America, but not in the UK on the NHS.
Fellow service wives at South Cerney, family, Standard readers and friends all over the country pitched in to help raise money and as soon as the first £20,000 was reached Katrina was able to head to America for the essential tests.
Now she has to raise the remaining £90,000 before she can undergo treatment. “That’s half of what it really costs,” she explained. “The doctors and the nurses are working for free.”
Katrina, who was exposed to depleted uranium when she was deployed to Iraq a decade ago, almost failed to get the go ahead from Dr Richard Burt when her heart reacted wrongly in one test.
It was a devastating blow, but Katrina managed to talk him round because she had kept herself fit. After 48 hours on a heart monitor he told her he was prepared to treat her.
“It felt amazing when he said yes.”
While in Chicago she had the chance to talk to other patients with the condition. “I’ve never, ever met anyone with my condition before.”
She was also able to follow the progress of one woman who had gone through a stem cell transplant.
“Even when she was at her worst she let me go over and see her so I knew what to expect. Before I went I was scared of the treatment. Now I’m not scared at all.”
Several attempts to obtain funding from military charities have failed, but this week she was in talks with Help for Heroes to see if they could help her fundraising. The Wiltshire-based charity also paid for the flights to Chicago.
Visit Katrina’s Stem Cell Fund on Facebook to find out more about how to support her appeal. She is also selling wristbands at the main Tesco is Cirencester on Saturday.
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