A mum facing death from a rare killer disease which has caused the bones in her mouth to disintegrate is hoping to be able to smile for one last time with her sons.
Kelly Murray, aged 33, has been given just 12 months to live and has lost half her teeth after battling langerhan cell histiocytosis for 12 years – a condition that affects just one in every million adults.
After suffering two collapsed lungs aged 20, Kelly was diagnosed and went on to be the only person suffering from the illness ever recorded to carry her own children.
Now her friends Karla Wilkinson and Sherralyn Newton want to raise enough money for Kelly to have veneer dentures fitted so she can smile again and enjoy her last few months with her boys – Bradley, 10, and Louis, nine.
Kelly said: “I don’t like smiling now.
“I used to be so confident, but now I never want to pose for pictures with my sons.
“It would give me my confidence back, and I could pose for pictures the boys could look at for years to come, even after I’m gone.”
Karla added that proceeds from the fundraising could also be used to buy other treats for the family.
“We’re also hoping to get her and the boys a private photo shoot and maybe a holiday so the boys have memories to last along with Kelly’s smile,” she said.
Since the start of 2013 Kelly’s health has declined and she has lost nearly four stone in weight.
Kelly said: “I find it hard to accept that I won’t see my sons grow up.
“I want to see them grow into young men. I don’t want to miss their first day of secondary school. I have always tried to keep on going, but you know your own body.”
The mum said she is increasingly lacking in energy as the terminal illness takes its toll.
“I can barely lift things. Sometimes the pain is so bad and I don’t sleep, and if I do I wake up gasping.
“I’m more tired and I feel weaker.”
Langerhan cell histiocytosis, or LCH, is an extremely rare cancer-like disease that attacks the organs. It causes pain in the bones, spontaneous fractures, loss of teeth and extreme fatigue as well as weakness, seizures and collapsed lungs.
Kelly, from New Whittington in Chesterfield, has to use an oxygen tank to help her breathe because the disease has cut her lung function by 60 per cent.
It can also affect the pituitary gland – as in Kelly’s case – affecting memory. It may affect one organ or spread.
The cause of LCH is currently unknown, but symptoms are triggered by a build-up of Langerhans cells, abnormal cells deriving from bone marrow and capable of migrating from skin to lymph nodes.