A mother claims to have been left paralysed and blind after catching Lyme disease from a tick bite in a park.
Christine Jennings, 57, was just 32 when the bug latched onto her skin while she was playing with her young daughters.
Over the next week, the former interior designer and artist developed what she thought was a virus, with migraines, a rash and swollen joints.
However, it was just the beginning of a 25-year battle with Lyme disease, in which her health has deteriorated to the point of being bed-ridden.
Ms Jennings has lost her eyesight and must remain in a dark room, is in excruciating pain, has no mobility and suffers with seizures.
She depends on round-the-clock care from nurses and her daughters - who she said are the only reason she has held on to her life.
Ms Jennings claims the NHS and medics have dismissed her plight at every step and even blamed 'old age' in her 40s.
Christine Jennings, 57, has been left blind, paralysed, wheelchair bound and in excruciating pain after catching Lyme disease when she was bitten by a tick while playing with her daughter in a park. Pictured with one of her daughters now
Ms Jennings has lost her eyesight and must remain in a dark room, is in excruciating pain, has no mobility and suffers strokes and seizures due to the condition
Ms Jennings, of Leicester, claims the NHS and medics at every step have dismissed her plight at every step and she has never received care or support over the past 25 years
Ms Jennings, of Leicester, said: 'I've lost everything. Literally everything. I can't imagine how much worse it can get.
'I don't want my children to have to watch me die a horrendous death without any support.
'My daughters are as distressed as I am and said, "We're going to watch you die, and we can't do anything".
'If it wasn't for the fact I had children and grandchildren there is no doubt I would have given up by now.'
In May 1994, Ms Jennings took her daughters - Rebecca, now 36, Jenna, 32, and Kelsey, 26 - to Leicester's Bradgate Park.
The grass was short, and Ms Jennings was wearing walking boots, a denim shirt, jeans, and a denim jacket.
It wasn't until the evening when Ms Jennings was getting ready for bed that she screamed at the sight of an insect on her ribs that was not brushing off.
She said: 'I went into panic and realised it was a tick. It was very small and half embedded in my skin.
'I didn't have any awareness of ticks passing disease onto humans and there was no information about it at the park.
'I ripped it off which was the worst thing I could have done because I left the head in. I didn't know at the time that was the problem.'
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks - found all over the UK but particularly in grassy and woody areas in southern England and the Scottish Highlands.
The disease can typically be treated by several weeks of oral antibiotics.
But if left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous symptoms and be deadly.
Ms Jennings was bitten by a deer tick, one which feeds off deers, which are known to live in Bradgate Park.
The tick needs to be removed from the skin immediately in a specific way to avoid its legs or other body parts staying embedded.
Ms Jennings has never seen her grandchildren (one of which is pictured) and does not know what her daughters look like as adults. She lost her eyesight over four years from the year 2000 when she developed a combination of eye diseases a specialist believed had only been caused by Lyme disease in the past
Avoid Direct Contact with TicksAvoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter Walk in the center of trails
Repel Ticks on Skin and ClothingUse repellent that contains 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours NB Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth Use products that contain permethrin on clothing; treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an online tool to help you select the repellent that is best for you and your family
Find and Remove Ticks from Your BodyBathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors NB If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended; cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ms Jennings found out three years after her bite that the tick's head was still inside her body, which was eventually surgically removed.
Initially, she didn't associate the following symptoms with the tick bite, and even joked with doctors in the following months that it was the cause.
She claims doctors reassured her the tick bite would be nothing to worry about, while they diagnosed ringworm for