Poppy Princess Gets Mayor’s Help for Ehlers-Danlos Fundraising

By David Hemming

Jodie has hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and uses her poppy appeal to promote EDS awareness.

Poppy Princess Jodie Vasquez was given some extra special help for her fundraising appeal this year.

Jodie Vasquez photo

Jodie Vasquez

“The Carlisle teenager, who suffers from a rare, life-threatening illness, was joined by city mayor Ray Bloxham on Saturday.

The pair linked up with members of the local Royal British Legion (RBL) to visit city centre shops and businesses and sell as many poppies as possible.

Jodie, of Currock, said: “This is the fourth year I have got involved in the poppy appeal.

“My dad was in the Royal Engineers for 10 years and the Legion have given us a lot of help so this is my way of saying thank-you.

“We had a great afternoon – all the kids were coming up saying ‘there’s the princess’, which was really cute. We managed to sell quite a few poppies and I think it definitely helped having the mayor there.”

Jodie has type 3 hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, an ‘invisible illness’ which affects sufferers to different degrees.

She was diagnosed four years ago, and her internal organs are failing one by one.

She has had her appendix and large bowel removed, a stoma fitted to deal with her failing bladder, her small intestine is slowly failing and she cannot digest food.

Margaret Wadsworth, chairman of the Carlisle and Stanwix branch of the RBL, paid tribute to Jodie’s determination to help the cause.

She said: “It is always a privilege to have Jodie with us and we are so proud of the work she does in spite of her medical conditions.

“She is always very determined to come, and even if she has been in hospital she has said she would discharge herself to help with the appeal!”

Mrs Wadsworth added that this year’s appeal has so far been an improvement on last year.

“Everyone was frightened last year because of the recession but we have noticed a lot more notes and £1 coins going into the collection tins this time,” she said.

Carlisle Mayor Ray Bloxham said he got involved in Saturday’s appeal as part of a number of official mayoral engagements in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day.”

Jodie is very dedicated to her poppy program and Remembrance Sunday.

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