A YOUNG woman from Stroud is in a race against time to save her life.

Nine years ago, Carys Hellewell was just an ordinary Thomas Keble school girl, who enjoyed art and sports and was interested in international development.

But following surgery for an appendicitis her health began to decline.

The 25-year-old, who grew up in Stroud and now lives in Nympsfield, started losing weight and eating became a major issue.

“I found even the smallest meals caused me pain and I began vomiting; food felt like a rock in my stomach, nausea became a constant symptom and going to the toilet became impossible without intervention,” she said.

She began a course in Global Development and Sustainability at Bath Spa University and dreamt of a career in humanitarian development.

But the condition became so severe that she had to put her entire life on hold.

After several misdiagnoses, with people often assuming she was suffering from anorexia, she was eventually diagnosed with ‘vascular compressions’.

This is an incredibly rare condition with only 500 documented cases worldwide.

There is pioneering surgery that will cure the condition, but it is only available in Germany.

Carys has surgery provisionally scheduled for September 24 in Dusseldorf, but she needs £35,000 to pay for the lifesaving operation.

“I need to raise this money as soon as I can before my condition deteriorates even more,” she said.

“The surgery could mean I no longer require a feeding tube, I’ll be able to go to the toilet without intervention, and not live a life in pain.”

Carys has set up a fundraising page and is appealing for donations to help pay for her life saving operation.

If you can help with a donation visit: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/carys-hellewell

Commenting on Carys' situation, a spokesperson from NHS England said: “Whilst we cannot discuss individual cases, this is an incredibly rare condition with only 500 documented cases worldwide.

"The NHS is committed to using the tax payers money wisely, and only funds treatment scientifically proven to alleviate symptoms and significantly improve patient outcomes.”