Jess Barnes owes her life to the skill and dedication of staff at Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre and her grateful friend, Jenny Burr, is running in a charity event to say thank you.
Jess suffers from Hughes Syndrome, a disorder of the immune system that increases the risk of blood clots and miscarriages.
She also suffers from a condition where pressure from fluid in the brain is too high.
There is no cure for either condition and Jess has spent 16 of the last 18 months in Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath. At times she was gravely ill and needed treatment in intensive care.
Jess, from Brighton, said: “What my friend Jenny is doing in running for Hurstwood Park means the world to me as without this unit I would probably not be here.
“Raising money for them has given me a special purpose. “I can honestly say I don’t take anything for granted since all this happened and the old phrase that ‘life is too short’ is very much true in my case.
“I’ve missed out on a lot but everything I can do is extra special.”
Jenny, who has known Jess since her school days, is running with Gemma Cole in the British 10k in London in July to raise money for the unit’s League of Friends.
Jenny said: “During her time in hospital, Jess has had 12 operations and been in intensive care twice due to a blood clot on the brain and a brain haemorrhage.
“She has also had to endure 25 lumbar punctures.
“Jess had to spend Christmas 2011 in hospital and last year was discharged just in time to spend Christmas Day at home.
“The treatment Jess has received has been superb.”
Jess added: “The unit quite literally saved my life so Jenny and Gemma’s fund-raising efforts really do mean a lot to me.”
You can donate via Jenny and Gemma’s Justgiving page at: http://www.justgiving.com/JenandGem
Hurstwood Park moved to Haywards Heath in 1941 when it was evacuated during the Second World War from the National Hospital of Neurology, Queens Square, London.
It is a regional centre for the south east of England and, when funding is secured, it will eventually re-locate to a purpose-built unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.