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Climbing Kilimanjaro for autoimmune hepatitis research

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In August 2000, Abby-Jo was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) at the age of seven.

AIH is a rare cause of long-term viral hepatitis in which the body’s immune system attacks and damages the liver. There are thought to be around 10,000 people living with autoimmune hepatitis in the UK, and although both men and women can develop the condition, it is more common in young women. It is not currently clear what causes the condition, who is most vulnerable, or whether anything can be done to prevent it.

Abby-Jo was placed under the care of several specialists and given a strict medication regime. Luckily, she responded well to the medication and over time, her health began to stabilise. In the last few years Abby-Jo has married and started her own family, but it has not always been a smooth ride, and there have been many flare ups, scares and concerns over the risks associated with having AIH.

Abby-Jo’s mum, Lisa Nevitt said, “At each step, Abby-Jo has benefited greatly from expert care and a constantly improving body of research that has allowed consultants to best support her.”

“This would not be possible without pioneering research supported by funders like the Medical Research Foundation, who have recently invested £1 million to fund vital new research into AIH. They continue to fund cutting-edge research which could lead to new breakthroughs in detecting and treating this disease – in turn helping to lengthen and improve the lives of those living with this disease.”

Lisa, joined by her husband Stephen and their friends, decided they wanted to raise awareness of AIH and support the work of the Foundation by reaching the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Their challenge begins this weekend, where they will start the eight-day ascent to over 19,000 feet.

Lisa has funded the trip herself, meaning that all donations will support crucial autoimmune hepatitis research funded by the Medical Research Foundation.

Lisa said: “Any donation you can give will be much appreciated – and the money we raise will be our driving motivation to reach the summit of the highest mountain in Africa and fly the flag of the Medical Research Foundation.”

To show your support, visit their JustGiving page.

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