‘The stroke that paralyses me is coming.’
Those are the sobering words of former Bristol University student, Jack Beadsworth. He suffers from a rare disease which makes it difficult for him to walk or even stand up.
NHS doctors say there is nothing more they can do for the 22-year-old from Kidderminster, and one day a stroke will cause him to be completely paralysed from the waist down.
But after a lot of research, his mum found a pioneering treatment which could save his movement.
The former law student needs to raise £20,000 for the surgery, called CyberKnife, which is not offered on the NHS.
‘I could barely walk or stand at all’
Jack first started having mobility issues in 2015. The pain gradually worsened, and by 2016 he was unable to walk or even stand.
Experts eventually diagnosed him with Spinal AVM, which damages nerve tissue, and were able to operate.
But a year later, the condition returned and this time doctors said it was too close to his spine for treatment.
“Prior to my spinal surgery in September 2016, I could barely walk or stand at all,” said Jack. “I remember walking round the corner from my house, no more than 100 metres, before having to stop and call my parents for a lift – a benchmark I still hold my current mobility problems against today.”
After his first surgery, Jack felt like he had a ‘new lease of life’. He was able to walk again and go on short jogs.
But sadly months later, a check-up scan showed the condition had returned.
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“My mum cried when I was re-diagnosed and it was incredibly stressful for me knowing that I had to relive the condition and medical procedures all over again,” said Jack.
“It was deemed inoperable. I was told that it would continue to damage my nerves, grow and eventually bleed causing a stroke that would completely paralyse the lower half of my body.
“They could not say for certain when this would occur.
“In weeks, months or years, nobody can be certain. What is for certain is that without surgery I will eventually be paralysed from the waist down.
“When I was told this news, I was in a daze for days and my family distraught.
“I have never fully come to terms with the fact that I will one day be in a wheelchair with the loss of control over all bodily functions in my lower half.
“While my latest tests show that the AVM is stable for now, the stroke that paralyses me is coming. The longer I go without this surgery, the greater the risk.”
However, it’s hoped the CyberKnife procedure could permanently remove his AVM, and prevent him from ever being paralysed.
To donate, click here.
What is AVM
Arteriovenous malformation is where an artery flows directly into a vein, rather than into capillaries and then to the vein. When this occurs in the spine, the disrupted blood flow deprives cells of oxygen causing spinal and nervous tissue to deteriorate or die.
A blood clot is also produced that gradually engorges and breaks off, causing a stroke and paralysis.