Ex-army medic's battle for life-saving treatment
12:18pm Tuesday 2nd April 2013 in Cotswolds news
A SOUTH Cerney ex-army medic who was exposed to depleted uranium in Iraq is fighting to raise more than £100,000 for lifesaving treatment in America.
Katrina Brown is in a race against time to raise the money before the window of opportunity to treat her rare condition closes.
Treatment for systemic sclerosis is not available on the NHS, so her husband Martin, family and friends in 29 Regt are desperately trying to raise enough money to send her for specialist immunotherapy in Chicago.
Katrina, 30, a combat medic technician who spent three months caring for staff at a 600-bed hospital near Basra 10 years ago, said the cause of the condition was not fully known, but it was thought to be linked to exposure to certain chemicals.
Like other service personnel at the base where missiles from the first Gulf War were stored, when she left she was told she had been exposed to depleted uranium.
She said: “It’s not the army’s fault. I was just doing my job. I just want to raise the money and get the treatment.”
Katrina served five years in the army before working in hospital operating theatres.
No treatment was available in the UK but she discovered a hospital in Chicago was treating patients. The catch was the $180,000 bill.
“I have to raise the money quickly or I will miss the timescale,” she said. “You are supposed to have it done within four years of diagnosis. I’m in my fourth year.”
The stem cell treatment involves effectively wiping out her immune system and “rebooting” it.
“It is quite a risky thing to do and she is going to have to be in isolation,” said Martin a Lance Corporal.
Friends and family have launched a concerted effort to raise the money, from sponsored distance running and cycling to cake sales and raffles.
Martin and colleagues are planning to run five half-marathons from the barracks in five days this June.
Anyone wanting to help her reach her target can send money or a cheque made out to Newsquest Katrina Appeal to the Wilts and Glos Standard, 74 Dyer Street, Cirencester, GL7 2PW.