This is my best friend Leona who frankly has been through the mill. In 2013 she received devastating news when she was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. As a single mother her priority was to stay alive, get better and raise her son. Luckily for Leona her Cancer story was a huge success and she has been cancer free since 2014. However in 2019 she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable (in Ireland) disease called Lymphoedema. This was a side effect of her cancer treatment and turned her world upside down yet again.
Lymphoedema is a disease that causes severe swelling due to a build up of lymph fluid. This occurs when the lymphatic system isn’t working properly to remove the fluid. This happened from the surgeons removing 26 lymph nodes from her right pelvis area to treat her cancer. It is most commonly found in legs and arms and in Leona's case her right leg.
In summer of 2018, Leona first noticed her right ankle begin to swell during the day but it reduced overnight until it didn't anymore. It got bigger and bigger.
For a period of 12 months there was a lot of back and forth to doctors, when finally she was diagnosed with Lymphoedema in St James Hospital in April 2019. This was yet again more devastating news for Leona. At 36 she was told that she was going to have to live with a chronic and incurable disease which needed daily management in the form of full leg compression socks to be worn from morning to night , she also has to dedicate at least 1-2 hours daily on a Pneumatic compression pump in addition to regular MLD(Manual Lymphatic Drainage) and bandaging. This has been a massive financial strain for Leona thus far.
In the 3 years since her first symptoms appeared, Leona's leg has gradually grown and moved from grade 1 to grade 2 which means her leg no longer reduces in size impacting on her everyday life and job.
The reason I have set up this page for Leona, is a plea to help her raise funds for an operation in a hospital in Oxford UK, who specialise in lymphoedema microsurgery (LVA /LNT) . This operation will make a huge difference to Leona's mobility and decrease the limb size. This is not covered by medical insurance and the costs are £ 27,000. This is Leona's ONLY chance to get a normal quality of life back. Unfortunately time is not on her side as her leg continues to grow. When she reaches grade 3 it will be inoperable with no hope to reverse the disease or her ever growing leg .
Thank you for taking the time to read about Leona's story. I am very grateful for any donation no matter how big or small you feel you may be able to make.
It would also be extremely helpful if you could share this on your social media platforms in the hope to reach out to as many people as possible.