A WHITE wedding is the dream of many a person.
But for Holly Hampshire, 27, from Scissett, it was a dream that almost became a nightmare and nearly didn’t happen.
Now Holly, who has a rare form of Vasculitis – a condition which destroys the blood vessels – is telling her story to promote Vasculitis Awareness Week which runs from April 25 to May 2.
Holly was taken to hospital nine months before her big day, suffering what appeared to be heavy flu symptoms.
Over two-and-a-half days her condition worsened and radio journalist Holly lost her hearing, her gums started to disintegrate and her energy levels dropped further.
Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis – a rare form of vasculitis.
Holly was put on immunosuppressants and steroids, the latter of which worked straight away.
Two weeks later, Holly was discharged from hospital and with regular doses of steroids, immunosuppressants and chemotherapy she began to build up her strength.
And on September 4, 2009, Holly was able to walk down the aisle with her husband James, 32, and go on to a honeymoon in Mauritius.
Holly said: “I had been really fit and healthy before and I couldn’t believe that I had suddenly got really ill.
“The ‘crash team’ for when you flatline was on standby at the hospital. I don’t think I had realised how ill I was.
“But I was never going to put off the wedding. I had it set in my mind that no matter what, I was going to get married.
“My last chemo session was one week before the wedding so it went right to the wire.
“My wedding was the most amazing day. It was absolutely brilliant. In his speech James said if we could make it through the last nine months we could last a lifetime.”
But the problem is far from over. Holly, who works for Ridings FM, Wakefield, must live with Wegener’s Granulomatosis for the rest of her life.
She will have to take medication for the rest of her life and has had to change her lifestyle.
She is yet to return to full-time work.
Holly said: “The disease is never cured. I’m on a cocktail of drugs everyday but I’m heading towards remission.
“My life expectancy is shortened. I have lung damage. I’m limited in what activity I can do.
“My life has had to change but I’m always going to have a positive outlook and being positive has helped me get better.
“I just want people to be aware of this disease and learn from my experiences and circumstances.”
For more information about vasculitis and Vasculitis Awareness Week visit: www.vasculitis-uk.org.uk
VASCULITIS is a group of rare auto-immune diseases of differing severity. All involve inflammation of the blood vessels, causing reduced blood flow or blockage.
This leads to damage to tissues and organs, with numerous consequences such as kidney failure, impaired vision or hearing, loss of digits or limbs, severe damage to the respiratory system, extensive skin scarring and in some cases, brain damage.