A MUM who suffers with chronic Lyme disease is desperately trying to pay for life-saving treatment.

Joanne Baskett’s health has slowly deteriorated for more than two decades because of the untreated illness, which has left her bed- bound and in constant agony.

The 44-year-old from Park South has suffered from co-infections, cancerous HPV lesions and failing organs since her mid-20s.

She’s losing hope of ever being well again after several unsuccessful attempts to fundraise enough money to pay for stem cell treatment in the USA.

The NHS won’t cover the treatment and she claims there are no Lyme disease specialists in this country.

The expensive procedure would restore her immune system, combat the debilitating effects of Lyme disease, and could finally rid her of the illness for good.

Joanne, who has three children, said: “I have nowhere else to turn, I’m slowly dying and no-one will help me.

“The disease is spreading, more organs are being affected, I’ve had 34 surgeries but without proper treatment I will die a slow, painful death.

“This has been an absolute nightmare, it’s soul destroying, there’s no hope and no future for me without this treatment.

“I try to stay positive and upbeat, but some days it really drags me down.

“You’re brought up to believe that the NHS will always be there for you, so it’s alarming when the doors are closed and become your own advocate.

“Doctors at GWH kept telling me it was a psychosomatic condition and offered behavioural therapy when there’s nothing wrong with me mentally.

“My friends Kelly and Chris Rees have been so helpful.

“Chris did sponsored boxing matches and raised just under £2,000 for me to see a specialist in Ireland, which is amazing.

“I can’t keep food down and find it difficult to eat because of my stomach - I might need to eat through a tube soon, I’ve lost three-and-a-half dress sizes in six months”

“Prior to getting sick, I was exceptionally active with dancing classes, swimming, cycling, playing badminton and hockey at county level, and working full-time.”

Her plan is to pay for an Infusio Lyme disease stem cell therapy program – but each one can cost up to £26,000.

Joanne also hopes to have parts of the company’s Cancer Treatment Stem Cell Therapy program to address her lesions.

There is another treatment option – long-term IV LLMD Guided Antibiotic Therapy, but this costs £10,000 per round and, according to Joanne, patients like her would need at least five rounds of the therapy, which would cost even more than the stem cell treatment.

Since being bitten by an insect in America over 20 years ago and then by a tick in 2009 while she was in her garden, she’s suffered symptoms ranging from nausea, fevers and chronic pain to kidney infections and arthritis.

She received a confirmed diagnosis for Lyme disease in 2016.

Official figures show around 1,000 people have the condition in the UK, but Lyme sufferers believe the true number is somewhere between 15,000 to 30,000.

The disease can cause heart failure, paralysis, memory loss, depression and immune system damage.

Family friend Claudia Marcarella has known Joanne for over 20 years.

She said: “I really feel for her, she’s a really good friend and it’s so frustrating for her that she’s been unable to afford treatment.

“She is basically rotting away, and she needs help.

“I don’t think people are aware of how ill you can be with Lyme disease, it’s a horrible illness. It’s so sad as she was the bubbliest and funniest girl I knew but she’s a totally lifeless person now.”

To donate, visit gofundme.com/lymeactuallyjoanne