A KEEN runner struck down by Lyme Disease is campaigning for the NHS to fund better testing and treatments.

Sarah Warren, 48, of Lexden, was bitten by an infected tick while out on a long cycle ride ten years ago.

The disease was misdiagnosed and Mrs Warren paid out about £1,000 for private diagnosis.

The mum-of-two then spent thousands more on private treatment at a clinic in Hemel Hempstead.

Mrs Warren, who until she contracted the disease was a keen runner, said now was the time of year people who spend lots of time close to long grass, including dog walkers and horse riders, needed to be aware of Lyme Disease’s “earth shattering” effects.

She said: “I went on a really long cycle ride and when I came back I said to my husband I was more than tired, I thought I was going to collapse.

“I got to bed and slept on and off for about three days,” she said.

Mrs Warren was initially misdiagnosed by her NHS GP with ME, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue, which she said commonly happened to people with Lyme Disease.

She was told she’d simply have to live with it.

”I got to the point when I realised no-one was going to help me and started doing research,” she said.

Mrs Warren found out about the Breakspear clinic in Hemel Hempstead but had to pay for the treatment as it is not funded by the NHS.

She said even with the diagnosis, NHS doctors will not treat patients requiring antibiotics for a long period of time.

Mrs Warren has been having private treatment for the past six years and is now works part-time as a primary school tutor at her home.

But she said she still struggles with symptoms which she likened to having flu and jet lag at once, as well as joint pain and confusion.

“That treatment keeps you from being bedbound,” she explained.

“How I am daily would be what most of us would take a day off work for.”

She has urged people to sign a national online petition which has nearly 9,000 signatures since its launch.

If it reaches 10,000 the Government has to acknowledge it and at 100,000 signatures the petition will be considered for a debate in Parliament.

Mrs Warren added: “It could happen to anyone. It is an earth shattering event.”

The petition can be found at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/113475.

She is appealing for people to contact her if they have Lyme Disease on Facebook.

She co-runs the Colchester Lyme Disease support group and its helpline number is 01206 808078.

The line is available Tuesdays and Fridays between 3pm and 6pm.

Its next get together is in May.

For more information, email colchester.lyme@gmail.com.

More information on the group and how to safely remove ticks can be found at colchesterlyme.wordpress.com/tick-removal.