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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Cumbrian teenager pushes through pain barrier to raise £6,000

A teenager who refuses to be beaten by a rare disorder is raising money to support medics who have looked after her.

Emily Jackson photo
Emily Jackson

Emily Jackson, 16, of Wigton, has suffered from a rare chronic pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) for about 18 months and has got involved in a big fundraising drive, raising nearly £6,000 in a year.

She has been collecting for the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath where she has been a patient. The hospital has used the money for research and to buy equipment for CRPS patients.

CRPS is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems. Typical features include changes in the colour and temperature of the skin, accompanied by intense burning pain, skin sensitivity, sweating and swelling.

Emily said: “This condition has affected me in many ways, such as having to use crutches to walk due to having painful feet which can feel red hot or icy cold and shooting pains in the back of my legs.

“I have problems writing due to the pain in my hands and arms, extreme backache and ongoing pain in my jaw, which frequently locks open or shut. I also have times when I get very hot and can get very wobbly and fall over.

“It is really hard because sometimes I wake up and can’t walk or have to use crutches. I can’t do everything that my friends do – if they go out I can’t always go with them.”

The condition is very rare. Emily added: “I would like to ask people to support the cause by donating and organising events.

“Getting as many people to know about it as possible will help, awareness is what it is all about.”

The fight to support research and sufferers has seen Emily beat the incredible pain barrier she suffers from.

Last year she managed to do a 50-length sponsored swim despite being on crutches for four months and having done very little exercise. On New Year’s Eve she completed a 5k event in Vienna with 4,000 other runners alongside her mum, sister Lucy and friends from both Cumbria and Vienna.

“I was determined to prove to myself and other people that I could exercise and swim through the pain.

“We also ran through the beautiful streets of Vienna and I think I surprised everyone as I came up to the finishing line. After spending over a year on crutches most of the time I managed to complete the race by running and walking. What an amazing feeling and what fantastic support I had,” said Emily.

She has also organised fundraising events such as cake sales, friends having their legs waxed and selling wristbands as far away as Australia.

One of her larger events was a charity evening held in March at the Greenhill Hotel near Wigton which raised £2,200. One donation to the charity auction was a signed football from Premier League football team Tottenham Hotspur.

Her aunt and uncle from Dalston are continuing the fundraising efforts next month by taking part in the 52-mile Manchester cycle challenge. To help, go to www.justgiving.com/Emily-Jackson0

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