Ginger Army

Help Heather & join the Ginger Army

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Our beautiful and much loved daughter, sister, auntie and friend Heather Leach urgently needs your help.

She is suffering from rare and chronic conditions, some which remain undiagnosed. She has gone from being a dynamic and active lover of life to a virtually bed-ridden invalid – without a life. Her health has deteriorated at an alarming rate but so far the NHS has been unable to fully diagnose or treat her.
We need to raise £100K to get Heather to world leading medical specialists that can deliver integrated tests, diagnoses and a full treatment plan before it is too late.

Heather’s story:
Heather is a much-loved fiery redhead.  At birth she weighed in at just 2lbs, her Nana taking one look at her in the incubator said, with typical northern straight talking: “poor mite, she doesn’t stand a chance”.

But Heather is a fighter.  
Throughout her childhood and teenage years she battled bronchitis, asthma and on-going joint and skeletal problems.  You would never have known it as she tackled the Three Peaks in the snow, achieved her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and became an accomplished ballet dancer and skier, always up for racing anyone willing to challenge her on the mountain. 

After graduating from University with a Fine Art degree she moved to London and made documentaries and interactive projects that have impressed audiences all over the world. Her projects created under the name of GINGER ARMY , after her distinctive and fiery mane of hair. At film and media festivals she was always at the centre of fun and dance offs (despite having to resort to cortisone injections to her knees and shoulders just to be able to function) yet she’s always been there for the friends and family who love her.

Just over a decade ago, Heather was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an auto-immune condition, in which your body attacks your thyroid gland.  She spent years trying to control this with medication, which simply did not work, hiding her struggles and putting the people in her films and interactive projects first.  In 2008 Heather had surgery to treat the disease, little knowing that in the process, they’d would also find thyroid cancer. Heather faced her mortality head on and with unbelievable determination, used her experience to make a highly respected BBC Storyville film “LUST FOR LIFE ” about her recovery and her bucket list. She really thought that this would be the start of a life without illness. 

Instead this is where Heather’s real fight began……. 
Heather has never been able to tolerate the medication necessary to treat her following her thyroid removal, medication that is required to suppress further cancer cell growth. Visit after visit to consultants followed, medication altered constantly, and all this whilst suffering chronic neck, spine, joint and muscle pain meant that her health declined massively during the following years.    
Recently she has also been diagnosed with an involuntary nervous system disorder. She suffers from almost daily “episodes” which involve; collapse, chronic breathing problems, loss of feeling in her limbs, tremors, slurred speech, severe palpitations, involuntary limb movements, decline of brain function and other major organs.

Heather has LOST HER LIFE.
She has carers who come to assist daily with the basics of eating and drinking and you could count on one hand the number of times she has been able to leave her house this year; when she does she is often wheelchair bound. Her lovely little house is beginning to feel like a prison cell and we don’t want this to become a permanent reality.
The last three years have seen Heather being passed from hospital to hospital, consultant to consultant without resolution. Her condition is clearly multi-faceted and requires an integrated approach which is something the NHS is simply unable to provide, sadly there’s no treatment or cohesive strategy ahead. 

However it is not all doom and gloom! 
In spite of everything Heather is still fighting, determined to try and get better and ultimately, in the future, help others in similar situations.  To make this happen Heather needs a different and cohesive health strategy that delivers personalised treatment tailored to her needs. One that addresses multiple disorders, deals with complex rare conditions and uses innovative genetic models in diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation. Which means turning to global leaders in healthcare to seek out the solutions that her complex condition now urgently requires.

We need your help, so PLEASE enlist in the Ginger Army and help us raise funds to get our flame-haired fighter the treatment she desperately needs before it’s too late. Your contribution WILL make a difference – and it’s something that we, Heather’s parents, sister and friends greatly appreciate.