A MOTHER-of-two who has been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease is hoping to use her experience to set up a support group.
Jenny Smith, aged 28, of Snugborough Avenue, Union Mills, was diagnosed with vasculitis eight months ago.
Vasculitis is a condition that involves inflammation in the blood vessels, the inflammation can lead to serious problems.
For five years Jenny received no answers to why she was always ill with general fatigue, flu and tonsillitis.
She put it down to the fact she was ‘one of those unlucky people who caught every bug going’.
Since being diagnosed Jenny has set up a Facebook support group, which is open to members on and off the island.
Her next step is to see if there is demand for establishing a face-to-face support group.
Jenny said: ‘When I was diagnosed I was given a leaflet about the disease. It is a very rare condition and not much is known about how or why it develops.
‘It was scary and I really wanted to be able to talk to someone who understood the condition.
‘My aims are to research the need and demand for a local support group to meet on a regular basis and to raise general awareness about the disease.
‘I would like to help other patients and let them know that they are not alone and to provide an ear of understanding of their condition and provide support to families of patients.’
Jenny, who is mum to Megan, 8, and Connor, 2, wants to raise awareness of the condition as there is currently no dedicated charity in the island for people who suffer from vasculitis.
After researching the condition online, the full-time mother came across the story of Lauren Currie, who passed away aged 15 in 2010, from a form of vasculitis called wegener’s granulomatosis.
Jenny was touched by her story and decided to take part in the End to End Walk, which will take place next Sunday, September 23, to raise funds in memory of Lauren and also Arthritis Care Ellan Vannin.
This is the first time that Jenny has done anything on this scale but is determined to raise money.
She said: ‘Reading her story touched home, as her timeline of illnesses and experiences up until her diagnosis and subsequently her death two days later, was very similar to the illnesses that I had experienced.’
The charity Arthritis Care Ellan Vannin was chosen because arthritis can often go hand-in-hand with the condition.
Supporting Jenny in the End to End Walk will be her friends Vicky Logan, 33, from Saddletone and Lynsey Clague, 25, from Castletown.
She is very grateful of the support of the girls and also the support of her partner Craig who has been there for her during her illness.
To get in touch or to sponsor Jenny in the End to End walk visit her facebook group Vasculitis Support Isle of Man or email vasculitissupportiom(at)manx.net.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
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