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Norwich woman to brave her biggest fear for her seriously ill stepsister

PUBLISHED: 15:42 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:50 02 May 2019

Katie Lawson (left) is facing her fear of heights by doing a bungee jump to raise money for her stepsister Sammy Armstrong, who suffers from Ehlers–Danlos syndromes (EDS). Picture: Katie Lawson

Katie Lawson (left) is facing her fear of heights by doing a bungee jump to raise money for her stepsister Sammy Armstrong, who suffers from Ehlers–Danlos syndromes (EDS). Picture: Katie Lawson

Katie Lawson

A Norwich woman is facing her greatest fear in order to help her sister – who suffers from four debilitating illnesses – live a normal life again.

Katie Lawson (front)  said her stepsister Sammy Armstrong used to be active and outgoing before she was diagnosed with Ehlers–Danlos syndromes (EDS). Picture: Katie LawsonKatie Lawson (front) said her stepsister Sammy Armstrong used to be active and outgoing before she was diagnosed with Ehlers–Danlos syndromes (EDS). Picture: Katie Lawson

University of East Anglia (UEA) student Katie Lawson, 28, will plunge 160ft from a crane in a bungee jump at Wyboston Lakes near Cambridge, despite her lifelong fear of heights.

Mrs Lawson, of Guernsey Road, said she is unable to climb stairs with gaps in between and feels queasy looking out of a window of a tall building.

She remembers at the age of eight her family had won a trip to New York, and while everyone was admiring the view atop the Empire State Building she was backed up against a wall cowering in the background.

Katie Lawson (bottom right) with siblings Sammy Armstrong, James Goodall and Emily Armstrong-Hinson. Picture: Katie LawsonKatie Lawson (bottom right) with siblings Sammy Armstrong, James Goodall and Emily Armstrong-Hinson. Picture: Katie Lawson

“Basically anything where I can see how far I am going to fall, I am not a fan of,” she said. “The only preparation I am doing is not thinking about it.”

But she is determined to brave the jump for her stepsister, Sammy Armstrong, 28, from Cumbria, who suffers from four different illnesses.

She is diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder, and also suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a chronic kidney infection and mast cell problems.

Katie Lawson (front) with her stepsister Sammy Armstrong. Picture: Katie LawsonKatie Lawson (front) with her stepsister Sammy Armstrong. Picture: Katie Lawson

She has been getting progressively ill and disabled since 2007, leaving her in a wheelchair and unable to enjoy life's simple pleasures.

She is desperate to live an independent life again and dreams of socialising and going out for a meal, something she has not been able to do since 2010.

Miss Armstrong hopes private medical treatment that is not available on the NHS would help her become the active and outgoing person she once was.

Katie Lawson (front left) with her family - dad Kevin Goodall, stepmum Lesley Goodall and siblings Sammy Armstrong, James Goodall and Emily Armstrong-Hinson. Picture: Katie LawsonKatie Lawson (front left) with her family - dad Kevin Goodall, stepmum Lesley Goodall and siblings Sammy Armstrong, James Goodall and Emily Armstrong-Hinson. Picture: Katie Lawson

“Because she is so disabled now, the smallest things makes the biggest difference,” Mrs Lawson said. “She's on a certain type of medication which means she can still eat instead of being peg fed.

“What we would really like to happen is for Sammy to get appointments with a specialist because she has such a rare combination of illnesses. 
“She's really grateful that I am doing this for her, she thinks I'm a little bit crazy.”

To donate, visit Sammy Armstrong's website at sammyarmstrong.jimdo.com or email katiejumpsforsammy@gmail.com.

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