About our beautiful Stella....
My 16 year old cousin Stella's beautiful smile masks the fact that she has been living with an invisible but excruciatingly painful illness for nearly five years. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare neurological dysfunction of the central nervous system and according to the McGill Pain Scale it is the most painful condition ever recorded.
CRPS is a chronic pain condition that often affects one of more limbs after an injury. The brain fails to shut off the pain response after the injury has healed, which causes pain that is constant, extremely intense, and out of proportion to the original injury.
What happened to Stella?
Following a seemingly innocent sprained ankle, Stella's pain worsened to the point that she was unable to let her foot touch the ground, or even tolerate a bed sheet touching her foot at night while she slept. She sleeps with a special frame under her bed sheets to ensure her foot is untouched during the night. Stella has experienced wasting muscles, swelling, heat/cold sensations and extreme burning pain in her lower right leg.
Living with the chronic pain of CRPS has affected Stella physically, emotionally, psychologically, educationally and socially. This insidious disease can affect all systems of the body. During the past year alone, Stella has been hospitalised five times with serious gastrointestinal complications as a result of the cocktail of medication she must take for the pain she endures all day, every day.
Why are we fundraising for Stella?
Stella is a gifted musician, artist, athlete and academic. She currently attends school part time, as her pain levels are too exhausting to allow for full days. Despite her part time education hours, Stella is a high achieving student, and consistently receives academic awards. She is capable of such greatness, and we so dearly want to help her reach her full potential and live a pain free life.
Following limited success with Calmare therapy in Victoria, her parents believe they have exhausted treatment options in Australia, but have found renewed hope for pain remission at a holistic medical clinic in Arkansas in the USA called "The Spero Clinic'.
Spero's motto is "While I breathe, I hope".
Our entire family is desperate to give our beautiful Stella the opportunity to regain hope, her health and live a pain free life.
The documentary video above was made by award winning documentary photographer Libby Best from Libby Best Photography. Libby spent four weeks with Stella and her family to make the documentary, and hopes to raise much-needed awareness of the unrelenting monster that is CRPS.
Libby holds a Bachelor of Photography majoring in Photojournalism, specialising in Social Documentary from the Queensland College of Arts, Griffith University.
Thank you for your support.
Team Stella!! xo
- Lisa Dowall
- Julie Williamson
Fundraising team: Team Stella (3)
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