The Story.

Hello my name is Natalie Kerr & I would like to tell you a bit about myself, I have had a life threatening disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension shortly after having my son Brandon in 2002, I started to become increasingly out of breath on exertion and after a while I started having blackouts every few months. I kept going back and forth to my G.P and was also being seen by a cardiologist but both failed to diagnose anything. In July 2007 I became pregnant with my daughter Isabelle. my breathlessness became very severe and my lips were turning blue. It was only however whilst I was in labour with Isabelle at The Royal Bolton Hospital in Feb 2008 that the doctors became very worried about my condition and it was Dr Lipscomb who decided to perform an echo which is a scan of the heart and diagnosed me with Pulmonary Hypertension. Pulmonary Hypertension is a progressive disease that damages the lungs and eventually leads to heart failure and death. The disease causes constriction of the tiny blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs; their walls get thicker and thicker so they can’t carry as much blood, then the heart has to work harder to push the blood through, and eventually it simply can’t keep up. Less blood circulates through the lungs, so less oxygen is available to the body. The resulting symptoms are severe shortness of breath even with minimal exertion, chronic fatigue, dizzy spells, chest pain, and fainting. Over time, the lungs become damaged and the right side of the heart, which pumps blood through the lungs, becomes thickened and enlarged and heart failure develops. IPAH is most frequently found in females of childbearing age, it affects males and females of all ages. Since it is a relatively rare disease, occurring in one to three people out of every million worldwide, little is known about it and doctors aren’t even certain what causes it. It is often misdiagnosed and sometimes it has progressed to advanced stages before it is accurately diagnosed and treatment can be given. Since diagnosis I have been started on a cocktail of very expensive medication, sildenifil, bosentan, warfarin, water tablets, remodulin which is a subcutaneous infusion running via a pump 24/7 into my stomach, this was to much to suffer I was doubled up due to site pain, I was hospitalised and weaned of remodulin and put on iloprost which runs through a hickman line direct into my heart via a pump 24/7 and oxygen for 16 hours a day. All of which have severe side effects and are very expensive, on average I am costing the government around £100,000 to treat me. This is the maximum amount of medication I can have and the next step would be a heart and lung transplant. I am now 27 years old and the mother of two lovely young children who I desperately want to see grow up. I qualified as a registered nurse in sept 2006 and was working up until a few months before I gave birth to Isabelle. Unfortunately now due to my poor health the career that I loved and had only just begun has come to a stand still. I am very limited in what I can do now, I drive my little boy to school & pick him up even though it should be only a 2 minute walk, due to my breathlessness and fear of blacking out. I can’t lift my little girl to many times as that takes my breath away to. If I venture out I have to have someone with me or meet me at the other end of my journey to be with me and assist me in a wheel chair. I also have a stair lift at home now, as I can’t manage my stairs. But I have not given up yet. You see, I have recently become aware of a new treatment that could help me – and others like me. An international group of doctors in Florida and the Dominican Republic is pioneering stem cell therapy for Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, and results have been amazing. The doctors are all part of a collaborative effort that includes research companies, stem cell clinics, and the Mayo Clinic. In essence, stem cells are extracted from the patient’s own blood and are then trained to become new blood vessels and replace the damaged ones in the lungs of IPAH patients. It’s an exciting idea, and when I read the article, it renewed my hope. These doctors seem to have found a treatment for my debilitating, life threatening disease which potentially could be a cure. The procedure costs £40,000 The reason for me writing my story is that i am hoping you will be kind enough to assist me in raising the money for my treatment and would be extremely grateful if you do. I just want the chance to see my babies grow up and will do whatever it takes to live. What ever extra money I raise I am going try and raise awareness of this devastating illness and to try to set up a foundation were I can help other people like myself go and get this life saving treatment. Avery big thank you to all my very close friends and Family for their Support. Please consider making a donation to my cause. Thank you.