A 23-year-old woman from Clayton-le-Moors is hoping to raise awareness of a medical condition that causes intense facial pain.
Karla Gudgeon was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia five years ago, after an operation on her jaw appeared to trigger the crippling nerve disorder.
Although Karla also suffers from hypermobility syndrome – which means her joints and limbs have an unusual range of movement – she previously led a very active lifestyle, including archery, sword fighting and dancing.
But the effects of trigeminal neuralgia have had a serious impact on her life.
She said: “The effect has been awful. At the moment, for example, I keep falling unconscious so I have had to give up my driving licence.
“And I need a carer nearly all the time, so my mum has given up her job.
“I’ve had to give up most of the things I used to do. I can do them very occasionally, but it’s pretty difficult, so basically it’s an accumulation of problems.”
However, despite the debilitating effects of the illness, Karla raised over £400 for the Facial Pain Research Foundation by completing a sponsored abseil in the Yorkshire Dales last month.
And for the International Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day on Tuesday, October 7, she hopes to visit Blackpool Tower with family and friends.
The tower will be among a number of landmarks illuminated teal blue to mark the event.
The former All Saints CE Primary and St Christopher’s CE High School pupil, who completed a degree in Environmental Science at Lancaster University, also sells owl-themed cards, notebooks, coasters and other merchandise to raise money for research into the condition.