Soldier dying after being exposed to uranium in Iraq must raise 110,000 for treatment because the NHS can't help her
Katrina Brown, 30, was exposed to radioactive material in BasraDiagnosed with rare systemic sclerosis which is slowly attacking her organs She believes the illness is linked to exposure to depleted uraniumSays her only hope is having stem-cell transplant to regenerate her organs
12:47 GMT, 3 April 2013
13:34 GMT, 3 April 2013
Katrina Brown is suffering from a rare, deadly illness after being exposed to uranium while serving in Iraq
A soldier who developed a deadly illness after being exposed to uranium in Iraq is facing a race against time to raise the money she needs for potentially life-saving treatment.
Katrina Brown, 30, was exposed to radioactive material while serving as a medic at a 600-bed military clinic in Basra in 2003.
She was diagnosed with rare systemic sclerosis in 2008 which is slowly attacking her major organs – and will eventually lead to her death if left untreated.
Mrs Brown, who joined the Army at the age of 17, believes the illness is linked to exposure to depleted uranium.
She was handed a card before flying home from her 2003 tour warning her she had been in contact with radioactive materials.
She currently survives on 18 pills a day, costing over 3,000 a month.
Now, she believes her only hope is to have a stem-cell transplant in a bid to regenerate her organs.
But the procedure is not available on the NHS and the health service has said it cannot pay for her transatlantic care.
She is is now trying to find 110,000 to fly out for an operation in America after being turned down for funding by a host of charities.
Mrs Brown, who lives with her husband Martin in Gloucestershire, said she still holds on to the dream of returning to her Army career.
She said: 'Since I was diagnosed,
everything's been a battle – as well as battling the illness I've been
fighting to try and access the right treatment.
'Now we've been offered
this ray of light but obviously we need help to raise the money.
'I've lost about 90 per cent of my
mobility and the longer I live with the illness, the more I'm
deteriorating physically, but I know I can't give up.'
Ms Brown was exposed to radioactive material while serving as a medic at a 600-bed military clinic in Basra in 2003.
She was diagnosed with rare systemic sclerosis, which is slowly attacking her major organs
'We found out about this treatment in Chicago in November.
'Since then, I've started to be dream a little and it's given me such a lift to think about going back into the Army – and that I might have had my last Christmas not working.'
Mrs Brown believes she needs the immunotherapy treatment before the end of the year as her physical condition continues to decay.
'I have to raise the money quickly or I will miss the
timescale,” she said. 'You are supposed to have it done within four
years of diagnosis. I’m in my fourth year.'
The stem cell treatment involves effectively wiping out her immune system and 'rebooting' it.
She said: 'It’s not the army’s fault. I was just doing my job. I just want to raise the money and get the treatment.'