Sunderland grandmother told she has 'months to live' aged 56 following diagnosis of two incurable rare diseases

A grandmother from Sunderland received the “devastating” news that she ‘has only months left live’ aged just 56 after being diagnosed with two rare conditions.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:32 pm
Tanya with her grandson Jake, 5.

Tanya Burrell, 56, from Fulwell, has been told she has only months left to live after she was diagnosed with two rare conditions that are incurable.

The grandmother-of-two was first diagnosed with scleroderma - an autoimmune disease which attacks all vital organs and affects Tanya’s skin - eight years ago after she noticed an ulcer on her finger.

During lockdown Tanya began to feel breathless after doing household chores before checking it with doctors.

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Tanya, with her daughter Gayle and grandson Jake.

Tanya, who used to work at Sainsbury’s, in North Hylton, then received the ‘devastating’ diagnosis of another rare condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension, where the right side of the heart is under intense pressure.

Tanya is now wheelchair bound and on constant oxygen.

Her daughter Gayle Carr, 31, says her mam is at an advanced stage and like “a ticking time bomb”.

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Gayle has launched a fundraiser to raise money for the family to visit Skegness.

She said: “It’s awful, because it’s like a death sentence as she is just waiting to die. It all happened really quickly, she went to bed one day and then the next day she was so out of breath.

"She is up and down because sometimes it’s really bad and she can’t cope and then other days she is really positive and says she isn’t going to give up, her grandchildren spur her on.”

A fundraiser has now been set up by Gayle to raise funds for her mum and family to visit Skegness, a location she used to visit as a child.

Gayle added: “We were in the car on the way to the hospital and mam randomly says ‘I’d love to go back to Skegness and have an ice cream on the beach’ and that was it, I launched the fundraiser so we can visit and let her be herself, be happy and enjoy it.”

Tanya is currently undergoing treatment to try and make it easier for her to breathe and it is hoped the treatment will also extend her life by 12 to 18 months.

Gayle added: “Mam has always been so independent so she hates asking for help but we’re all trying to stay positive and to be strong for the family.”

You can donate to Tanya’s fundraiser here.

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