Hemel Hempstead student raising cash for DNA treatment

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A student is trying to raise nearly £4,000 so that she can travel to Germany and discover what is causing her rare genetic illness.

Natalie Grantham-Allport has to spend big chunks of her day in bed as she suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome III, which means she can’t produce enough collagen to connect her tissue and suffers from fatigue.

The 22-year-old, from Adeyfield, also discovered after an MRI scan in 2016 that she is missing a kidney, has a damaged spleen and has two uterus – while she lost most of the vision in her left eye.

To find out the full extent and cause of her conditions, she will have to travel to an international gene clinic in Germany to undertake a Full Exome Sequencing test, which will examine her DNA.

The condition is so rare that the NHS won’t fund the £4,000 testing in England.

Now Natalie, who studies politics at Queen Mary University of London, has launched a crowdfunding campaign in the hope that the good folks of Hemel Hempstead can help.

She told the Gazette: “It’s been a hard adjustment – going from being quite active and independent to having to spend a lot of time in bed.

“I was always doing something and had plans to do lots more. Now it’s difficult to make plans for a year, let alone five, because I don’t know what’s causing my condition.”

Natalie had already saved up £400 for an initial consultation with the specialist in Germany, and hopes that she will have raised the full amount to fly back and have the treatment after she graduates from University in July.

Natalie said: “Although the test does not mean I will find a cure, it will be life-changing because it means I will finally know what is causing my health problems.

“It is scary not knowing what is wrong, and with no idea what is causing these problems I don’t know what to expect.

“I will be able to be put in touch with the right specialist doctors and have a better idea of what to expect for my future and what the outcome of my condition will be.”

You can donate to Natalie’s campaign by visiting www.gofundme.com/help-fund-natalies-genetic-testing