Former healthcare worker nominated for role model award due to rare illness awareness campaign

Jessica Heather

Jessica has been nominated for the positive role model (disability) award - Credit: Jessica Heather

A former healthcare worker from Hatfield who suffers from multiple health conditions has been nominated for positive role model award at the National Diversity Awards.

Though Jessica Heather's conditions have prevented her from working, she and her husband Wayne have been running a campaign to raise awareness.

Jessica Heather

Jessica and her husband Wayne - Credit: Jessica Heather

HWTH Health Awareness Campaign, which stands for 'Holiday With The Heathers', hopes to raise awareness for rare conditions, invisible illnesses and disabilities.

"It means the world to know that I have been nominated for the positive role model (disability) award, " Jessica told this paper.

"It confirms that the HWTH Health Awareness Campaign, that I have been so passionately working on, has ensured that people have a better understanding of rare health conditions, invisible illnesses and disabilities. It has been acknowledged that the work that I have been campaigning for has been a success."

Woman in hospital bed

Jessica is living with multiple conditions including Behçet's disease (BD), Fibromyalgia, and Gastroparesis - Credit: Jessica Heather

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Jessica illnesses include: Raynaud's Syndrome - where a spasm of arteries cause episodes of reduced blood flow typically to the fingers, endometriosis - where the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, Borderline Personality Disorder, fibromyalgia - widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, Behçet's Syndrome - a condition that results in inflammation of the blood vessels and tissues and gastroparesis - a condition that affects the normal spontaneous movement of the muscles in the stomach.

Jessica added: "After the story was published in The Welwyn Hatfield Times by Charlotte, I was on a great high, because part of the reason why I shared my story was self-therapy. 

"The fact that Charlotte believed in me enough to publish my health story, meant I was getting a double whammy,  not only had it benefited myself, it will have benefited the thousands of people who read the article.

"The reaction I got from this, was thanks and gratitude, because people who felt alone and misunderstood, realised they were no longer alone in their suffering, it gave some people the encouragement to seek further help and advice." 

Unfortunately due to COVID Jessica's plasmapheresis treatment , where she would receive artificially generated plasma, has ceased. However she still considers herself lucky thanks to her support system of her husband and family.

You can vote for Jessica in the National Diversity Awards here.

You can visit her YouTube channel here.

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