Friends rally to help Jess after illness diagnosis

Jess Gawn
Jess Gawn
Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

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WHEN Jess Gawn was suffering from migraines and sight problems, she visited her opticians.

Then 20, Jess was shocked to find out she suffers from a condition which causes fluid to leak into her brain.

Jess, 21, of Maralyn Avenue, Waterlooville, said: ‘I was suffering from migraines for a few years.

‘I went to the opticians in September 2011, because of my eyes, and they sent me straight to Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘The optician could see haemorrhages behind my eyes.

‘I knew something wasn’t right at that point, as that’s never happened before.

‘When I got to QA, the doctor thought it would be a brain tumour or a blood clot.’

But Jess was diagnosed with idiopathic intercranial hypertension (IIH).

The condition means her spinal cord creates excessive fluid, which then travels up to Jess’s brain.

It causes her to have seizures, nausea, and vision problems.

She was forced to give up her job as a nursery nurse.

Jess also needs to take daily medication, including six anti-seizure tablets, anti-sickness tablets, and morphine when the pain becomes unbearable.

Currently there is no cure for the condition, and she needs treatment from both QA and Southampton General Hospital.

Jess said: ‘I have a shunt in me, which takes the fluid into my stomach. If there’s still too much, then I have to have the fluid drained.

‘When I talk to people about the condition, most have never heard of it.’

Jess has been friends with Katie Parratt for 17 years.

Katie is manager at the Colonial bar, in Portsmouth Road, Horndean, and has arranged two events to raise money for an IIH charity, and awareness of the condition.

On Saturday, August 24, a 60s event will be taking place from 8pm to 1am.

It features Danny and the Dreamtones.

People are being asked to dress in 60s fashion, and there’s a suggested donation of 50p to enter.

On Thursday, August 22, a battle of the bands night has been organised.

There are 12 bands playing from 8pm to 11pm, and it costs £1.50 to enter.