After being diagnosed with a chronic disease which could leave her unable to walk a Knaresborough woman is crowdfunding to pay for her treatment.
Katie Alderson,20, has missed out on many milestones in her life because of Lipoedema, never going to prom being just one that came to mind when she spoke to the Advertiser earlier this month.
Despite dieting and exercising she struggled to lose weight which built up on her arms and legs since she was a teenager. It wasn't until this year that she was diagnosed with the disease, which causes an abnormal build up of fat-cells. Further health complications are often caused as a result of this.
The only treatment available to her and others is liposuction. Viewed as cosmetic this will not be funded by the NHS, although Katie has managed to have one round of surgery further treatment will cost £8,000.
Appealing for support she said: "I am asking people to be open minded and not make assumptions. My fear is that people will say this is not a health condition, and just say I am fat. Just look into this and don't shrug it off as another thing someone can take care of themselves.
"I always thought there was something abnormal going on, I remember that I was bigger in school and I was bullied a lot because of it.
"I have tried for a long time to lose weight, but you can't lose it with this. And that can have a real effect on you. It can affect your mental health and it made me miss out on so many things. I never went to prom, and there were things I was never comfortable doing like sports because of it.
"If I can't do anything about this it could mean I eventually could have more health problems. It can cause issues with my hips and knees, eventually it could mean i am left immobile."
Previously working as a carer Katie is looking forward to begin training as a nurse in September. However she has already begun to experience pain in her feet whilst working as a result of the disease, and is concerned of the long-term implications if it is left untreated.
She said: "I believe it started when I was teenager, but it was not too obvious or as bad as it is today. Since being diagnosed I understand that I am at stage two out of three of Lipoedema. The most common issues I find with are with my arms and legs, which are very sensitive to pressure or touch, and bruise very easily.
"I find if i have been on my feet for long periods of time I get a dull burning sensations in my lower legs, which is very uncomfortable."
Growing up unaware of Lipoedema an online forum, where users share their own experiences of the disease, has provided a lifeline for Katie since she was diagnosed.
She said: "Knowing that it isn't my fault, and that there are other people out there going through the same thing really helps so much. We just talk together and go over it with each other, it might sound simple but it's so nice since so few people know much about Lipoedema."
There's been little research into lipoedema according to the NHS, and in Katie's case it was difficult to diagnose - initially being told by one doctor that she was overweight until another confirmed she had the disease. So far her crowdfunding appeal has raised around £700, following her parents sharing the news of her return from Bonn, Germany, where she had her initial treatment.
Katie said: "I am already overwhelmed by the reaction to the appeal, it would do so much for me if I am able to have these treatments, for my health, confidence and career. "I spent a lot of time in hospitals growing up, my family having a lot of health problems, and I always knew that I wanted to be able to care of other people. This would help make that possible."
If you would like to donate towards Katie's Justgiving page click her