A MINOR injury has left a Doncaster builder suffering a rare illness which leaves him in constant agony.
Tim Nicholson twisted his knee at work, and thought little of it at the time, until he needed an operation to remove cartilage from the knee.
The operation at Doncaster Royal Infirmary went without a hitch - until a separate agonising illness set in.
Now the 48-year-old dad-of-two, from Pamela Drive, Warmsworth, has been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.
It is thought to be the same condition as that suffered by Wheatley Hills teenager Amy Kennedy.
Tim’s wife Joanne said: “It is like his nerves have gone wrong in his legs. He is in 24-hour pain.
“If there is even a slight breeze on his leg it causes pain and he cannot bend it at all.
“He can no longer do things he used to take for granted like going on a bike ride with the children or playing football with them.
“He is on strong pain killers. The only other treatment he could have would be nerve blocks injected into his spine, but whenever Tim suffers a cut there is a danger it could spread to where that cut is, so he does not want to risk the injections.
“It is horrendous for him. We have been in the depths of despair over this. If someone touches his leg, he has described it as being like a red hot poker going into him.
“He has talked about having it amputated, but there is a risk that such an operation could cause it to spread.
“People do not know about this illness.”
Now the family are trying to raise money to send Tim to America for treatment at a specialist clinic in Texas, the same one as 13-year-old Amy is hoping to attend. Amy’s family have already raised the money she needs for her treatment.
Tim’s supporters are also trying to raise money to buy a machine to provide treatment at home.
It involves fixing pads to the body and passing electrical pulses through them.
The machines cost around £7,000 and the family hopes to raise £15,000 in all to pay for the machine and treatment in America.
Disabled family friend Lynn Cunningham, who works at St Leger Homes repairs calls centre, did a sponsored one mile swim to help raise money. The 47-year-old had meningitis as a youngster that left her with mobility problems and she has had at least 40 operations throughout her life.
Joanne and eight friends are planning a sponsored skydive on July 17, and she hopes to run a fundraising fun day later in the year. Email email@example.com for information about sponsoring Joanne.
RSD is sometimes also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The NHS says it usually affects the hands, feet, elbows or knees, but can attack any part of the body.
The pain may start after an injury, where the nerves have been damaged, or there may be no known cause. The pain usually gets gradually worse and may spread to other parts of the body.
According to the NHS it is quite rare, with an estimated 11,500 people in the UK suffering from it.