Bideford man crowd funding for ‘life changing’ fix for illness that has left him unable to eat or drink for two years
- Credit: Kurtis Lancaster
A Bideford man has turned to crowd funding in a bid to fix a mystery illness that has left him unable to eat or drink for more than two years.
Kurtis Lancaster is unable to keep food or liquid down and is unable to maintain the potassium levels his body needs.
The 23-year-old has been unable to get a diagnosis for his condition, despite 'hundreds' of hospital admissions and medical tests.
Kurtis now weighs just four-and-a-half stone, having lost six stone since the illness started in April 2017.
In February last year Kurtis's potassium dropped so low his partner Michelle had to give him CPR.
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He has been admitted to intensive care multiple times - most recently earlier this month - requires regular top-ups of potassium, and is at risk of heart failure.
Speaking to the Gazette, Kurtis said he is unable to pick up his one-year-old daughter for fear of dropping her.
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"When my potassium is low I just feel absolutely drained. Even walking up the stairs is a massive challenge," he said.
"You start to crave sugar, you get pins and needles and cramps, and the worst bit is I cant pick up my kids, because I would drop them.
"I can't fault the hospital staff - some of them have been miracle workers - but nothing the NHS has done has worked. I've been to Barnstaple, Exeter, Bristol and London."
Kurtis has had to be fed using tubes and injections with limited results, and may have to start looking at palliative care.
Now he and Michelle are attempting to crowd fund £45,000 for private treatment in America, which would include a part stomach transplant.
"I contacted a hospital in America, which seemed like a big jump," said Kurtis.
"They said they could provide a part stomach transplant to see if that fixes things and if its suitable, a heart transplant.
"I'm hoping we can get a fix - it would be amazing and life changing."
Michelle added: "It's been difficult, emotionally, and physically. When I first met Kurtis he was energetic, bubbly, had a positive outlook and was cheeky and confident. I've watched that person disappear.
"It would be good for him to enjoy food again, a social life, return back to work and be more hands on with the children."