A YOUNG Irish woman battling an incredibly rare life-threatening condition has pleaded for greater medical research funding.
Lauren Walsh (24) wants greater support for those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) after the condition dramatically changed her life as a teen.
She has now waged a courageous internet campaign to forge links between EDS sufferers worldwide and to promote awareness and support for those with the condition.
Lauren now takes more than 30 tablets a day and is fed via a special tube after EDS effectively destroyed her digestive system.
The young Cork woman also suffered the heartache shortly before Christmas of contracting a secondary condition called ARCS which has dramatically complicated her treatment.
ARCS left her with reduced heat and cold sensitivity on her skin, leaving her vulnerable to burns.
"It has been a tough year but we got through," Lauren wrote.
The teen has been hailed as an inspiration because of her courage.
Lauren was just 15 when diagnosed with EDS after her weight had plummeted from nine stone to just five stone in just a couple of weeks.
At first it was thought Lauren might have caught a virus but then she was diagnosed with EDS.
The disorder basically results in critical parts of the body being attacked - in Lauren's case it was her stomach and bowel.
There is no specialised EDS treatment facility in Ireland and Lauren was referred from Cork University Hospital to a top UK clinic which specialises in the condition and its treatment.
Her mother, Callie, said her daughter was shattered by the news she couldn't receive a bowel transplant.
Lauren now has over 3,000 blog followers. Her Facebook page is Stripes For Life - My EDS Journey, and Lauren's Support Fund is Allied Irish Banks A/C No. 50281188 Sorting Code 93-43-48.