Stephanie Chin – Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

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Stephanie Chin is not only a medical student; she is also a charity ambassador, fundraiser and inspires everyone who meets her.

Stephanie has intestinal failure as a result of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This means she receives nutrition artificially through a line that runs through her heart, in a process known as parenteral nutrition, for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The remarkable 21-year-old was invited with her mother May Chin to the Exclusive Gala Dinner to thank her for supporting the charity and for raising an incredible amount for St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation. Stephanie tweeted after the event ‘Happy tears for what St. Mark’s, its doctors, patients and supporters give. Thank you just isn’t enough.’

Stephanie’s story at St. Mark’s began in October 2013 when she requested a transfer from another hospital in London to the care of Dr Simon Gabe. Her transfer was prompted by the Hospital’s reluctance to accept that her gastrointestinal symptoms were related to an already confirmed diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, instead diagnosing her with anorexia. Stephanie and her family researched a more outstanding facility to attend, and Dr Gabe’s reputation for successfully treating patients like Stephanie, led them to St. Mark’s. They finally felt they had found the best consultant in Dr Gabe.

Following admission for her condition in December 2013, her second at St. Mark’s in the space of a month, Stephanie spent 11 weeks as an inpatient. Whilst this could have been a painful experience, Stephanie speaks very highly of this time and her experience of being a patient of Dr Gabe, ‘My team has helped me get my life back but they have also given me optimism. Although they are not in my shoes, they have been very empathetic and helped me to keep positive. They have become like my family.’

She has had to make several adjustments very quickly and she has taken these in her stride. She is determined not to let her condition define her and hinder her hopes of a medical career and her desire to one day be a mother. ‘I really feel indebted to everybody at St. Mark’s, not just for giving me back the life that I felt like I’d lost, but for helping me accept and see past illness and look towards a normal future. It wouldn’t have been this easy, or even possible, without St. Mark’s.’

Stephanie participated in a 2.5 kilometre swim in the Olympic Pool in Stratford and she has raised over £7,000 for St. Mark’s Hospital Foundation so far.

If you would like to sponsor Stephanie, please visit her Justgiving page here 

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