Lyme Disease: Medical expenses could be the end for Elke
TIME is running out to save Elke Krieg's life.
The former Sunshine Coast model is undergoing treatment for chronic Lyme disease in Germany, but needs another $40,000 to continue with it.
The 26-year-old has made a public Facebook plea to help raise the rest of the money, otherwise she will be forced to return home without finishing the treatment.
Due to Elke's failing health and its complexities, the hospital requires her to stay twice as long as most chronic Lyme patients, meaning "a huge, unexpected cost".
The debilitating illness affecting many Sunshine Coast locals is not recognised by the Federal Government and therefore diagnosis and treatment has to be undertaken overseas.
"This is by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Elke wrote in the social media post.
The blonde beauty had the world at her feet before she was struck down with the chronic and life-threatening disease three years ago.
The former Caloundra High student was on a surfing trip in Bali with her boyfriend when she was bitten by a tick in a rural village.
The infection, caused by the Borrelia bacteria carried by ticks, left her with excruciating body pain, continual migraines, memory loss, seizures, facial paralysis, chronic fatigue and a severely impaired immune system.
Elke has tried to lead a normal life, but her failing health means she is bedridden most of the time and in a constant fight to survive.
In March, Elke almost lost her battle with the disease when it turned deadly.
She was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency abdominal surgery after continued instabilities including excessive weight loss due to her inability to process food, "unimaginable" pain, swelling and vomiting.
Through crowdfunding initiatives, Elke has raised half the amount needed to get the lifesaving treatment, but she still needs to raise the rest.
She said her condition was becoming "more and more life-threatening" as the days went on, which was why she had to go to Europe this month.
"I just had to take the leap and do it, before I ended back in another Australian hospital withering away, deteriorating while being mistreated," Elke said.
"I made the informed decision that the German protocol is the treatment path I wanted to take, based on its unsurpassed success rate, even with drug-resistant patients like me.
"Thank you to everyone that has helped me get this far - you're truly amazing."
Elke said she felt like she was "stagnating - existing but not living".
Donate via PayPal through http://www.helpsaveelke.com;
Or through the medical fundraising website www.peoplepledge.com.au/elkekrieg2015/