A TEENAGER with an illness which causes her to vomit up to 100 times a day hopes a £20,000 operation will give her a normal life.
Kirsty Hext’s condition has baffled doctors and she was once admitted to a psychiatric hospital because medics thought she was forcing herself to be sick.
But the family of the 16-year-old, of Bondfields Crescent, Leigh Park, believe she has gastroparesis – where part of her stomach is paralysed and she can not digest food.
She is sick every day and two years ago was so ill she vomited up to 100 times a day.
Her mother Teresa Sinclair feels her only chance of a normal life is a device known as a stomach pacemaker.
It regulates the stomach to force it to digest food. But the family have been told the NHS is unlikely to fund it – and even if it did it could take up to two years.
Kirsty said: ‘It started 10 years ago and it didn’t stop. It made me feel really down because everyone else could sit down and eat their dinner normally and I’d be sick as soon as I’d eaten it.
‘I was in hospital all the time and it made me feel really low. The only way I felt better was thinking about my niece Chelsea and all the other people who are much worse off than me.
‘Now I refuse to go into hospital because I know I will have to have lots of blood tests and I’ll be fed through a tube.
‘It’s ruined my life because I can’t go shopping or to sleepovers with my friends.
‘For the last two years I hardly went to school. I was so weak and embarrassed.
‘Although I know there is no cure it is my dream to live a normal life and I hope the pacemaker can help me.’
Kirsty’s hair falls out and her teeth have been damaged by the acidity in the vomit.
Throughout her life Kirsty has had regular hospital spells, been on anti-sickness drugs and tried different diets to no avail.
Mrs Sinclair, 44, is determined to raise the money for the gastro pacemaker.
She said: ‘We believe this is Kirsty’s one hope and we’ll be holding fundraising events.
‘It’s her chance to be a normal teenager.’
Kirsty is studying beauty therapy at South Downs College, but she hopes to eventually become a nurse when her health is back on track.