A WOMAN who suffers from a little-known infectious disease will stage a colourful protest in Hull to campaign for better treatment.
Donna Hopkinson, 35, intends to paint herself lime green as part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of Lyme disease.
The unemployed mother-of-five plans to mount a one-woman protest outside the Guildhall on Wednesday, to highlight the plight of sufferers.
Since receiving a tick bite on her leg while walking in Humber Bridge Country Park last June, Ms Hopkinson has been plagued with poor health.
“It has been a constant battle for treatment ever since I first fell ill,” Ms Hopkinson, of Witham, east Hull, said.
“My leg swelled up and I got a horrible rash, but nobody seemed to know what was wrong with me.
“Now I suffer regularly from fatigue, confusion and dizzy spells.
“Sometimes I feel so tired I can’t get out of bed in the morning.”
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans through bites from infected ticks.
These tiny creatures are often found in wooded areas across the UK, as well as in Europe and the US.
Health experts believe between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in England and Wales each year.
Symptoms can range from headaches or pain in the joints to severe fatigue, heart palpitations, muscle paralysis and memory loss.
Some sufferers have criticised the health service for failing to properly diagnose and treat the illness.
Ms Hopkinson will make her stand on the same day a national protest takes place in London to campaign for better diagnosis and treatment.
Several hundred people are expected to gather outside the Department of Health building on Wednesday morning to call for improvements for those who suffer from the illness.
She believes the public need to be better educated about the dangers of Lyme disease.
“It is time we took a stand to protect adults and children from this terrible disease and make sure people in the NHS and in the councils do more to raise awareness about the dangers,” she said.
“This disease can be fatal if it is not treated properly and it is something that has severely disrupted my life. I’m still not in the best of health.
“I am going to do anything I can to stand up for future generations of sufferers. I just want to make a difference for people like me.”
Disease left pop star bed-ridden
POP star Avril Lavigne is another Lyme disease sufferer who has recently revealed details of her struggle to cope with the illness.
The 30-year-old singer said it took doctors eight months to diagnose her condition. The illness left her bed-ridden for five months as she suffered from severe fatigue and shortness of breath.
The Canadian star said she is now recovering well from the disease but wants to speak out to raise more awareness and help others.