Villagers have set up a campaign to help support a ‘much loved’ local man get to the bottom of his mystery illness.
Since February 2014, Jamie Smith, has suffered low blood counts, chronic stomach pains and bone marrow failure, as well as a host of other symptoms.
But despite ‘hundreds of hospital visits’ he has yet to find a diagnosis for his continuing problems which have left the 39-year-old former builder unable to work and struggling to cope.
Now a group of friends and supporters from Jamie’s home village of Badwell Ash have started a campaign, called Let’s Mend Jamie, to help him get to the root of his troubles.
“When we held our first meeting in the local pub for the campaign, 40 people came along,” said friend Gemma Turp.
“He has always been very popular and people just want to help him find out what is wrong and hopefully, also a cure.
“He has been passed from hospital to hospital seeking answers and by raising money we hope to be able to help him cover costs of hospital visits and even private treatment.”
The Let’s Mend Jamie campaign has so far raised more than £5,000 through a series of events and a fund-raising page.
Doctors at first thought Jamie was suffering a rare form of bone marrow failure called autoimmune aplastic anaemia.
But further tests have indicated a very rare bacteria called cupriavidus could be a cause.
During the first year of Jamie’s illness, he underwent 170 blood and platelet transfusions.
He has since seen specialists at five different hospitals including West Suffolk Hospital, Addenbrooke’s, King’s College Hospital, University College Hospital, and a private hospital in London.
“For the last three years my life has been characterised countless hospital visits, abdominal pain, headaches and fatigue amongst other symptoms,” said Jamie.
“I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from people in the village, which is truly humbling.”
On July 15, Let’s Mend Jamie is holding a Day of Fun Extravaganza at Badwell Ash Village Hall, starting at 3pm.
There will activities including a disco, a tug-of-war, stalls, a barbecue and live music.
People can also visit the group’s fund-raising page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gemma-turp-1