Dog toys help chronically-ill woman cope with conditions

Kyri Roebuck, aged 29, of Huthwaite, with her grandad Brian Comins.
Kyri Roebuck, aged 29, of Huthwaite, with her grandad Brian Comins.

A chronically-ill Ashfield woman is raising awareness for her rare disease by selling home-made pet toys for charity.

Kyri Roebuck, aged 29, of Newcastle Street, Huthwaite, was diagnosed with vasculitis and fibromyalgia in 2010.

Kyri's dog toys are proving popular.

Kyri's dog toys are proving popular.

The crippling disorder affects her muscles and soft tissue, causing significant pain and fatigue that often leaves her unable to leave the house.

Her mother, Colette, aged 53, said the illness has ruined her daughter’s life.

Colette said: “She hasn’t got a life.

“She has to be indoors all the time and only ever goes out for hospital appointments.

Kyri Roebuck suffers from vasculitis and fibromyalgia.

Kyri Roebuck suffers from vasculitis and fibromyalgia.

“She can’t even visit her family, because she is too ill to get up and down the stairs.”

Colette said her daughter’s health problems began when, aged 18 months, she was rushed to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton with suspected meningitis.

After numerous tests, doctors eventually diagnosed baby Kyri with juvenile chronic arthritis, an autoimmune disease which causes swelling in the joints.

Kyri spent her early childhood in and out of hospital because of the condition, having her knees drained of fluid and learning to walk again after the muscles in her legs collapsed.

As a result, she missed a lot of school and eventually lost touch with many of her friends who, her mother said, were too young to understand the seriousness of her illness.

Colette said the crippling affect the condition has had on Kyri’s life has made her very depressed and last month her therapist suggested she get involved with a charity to boost her confidence.

The suggestion inspired Kyri to channel her love of animals into making pet toys she could sell online to raise money for Vasculitis UK, a charity set up to raise provide support and raise awareness for the disease.

Colette said the project has really helped to lift her daughter’s mood.

She said: “It changes her completely when she gets a request for a toy.

“That someone wants something she has made herself makes her very happy and it raises awareness for this awful condition as well.”

Colette said Kyri has had a great response to the project with numerous animal shelters and kennels placing orders, including Lindrick Boarding Kennels, which offered to display her toys in their reception.

All profits from sales go to Vasculitis UK, but Colette said the most important thing is that Kyri’s story is raising awareness about this little-known disease.

She said: “So many people say they have never heard of Vasculitis.

“Even some doctors and nurses at the hospital don’t know what it is.

“We’re doing this to raise awareness because more people need to know about this awful illness.”

To buy a toy or donate, follow Kyri on Twitter via @tillypopstoys

What is vasculitis?

The NHS says Vasculitis literally means “inflammation of the blood vessels”.

The NHS says: In vasculitis, your immune system attacks the blood vessels by mistake. The trigger may be an infection, a medicine or another medical condition. Sometimes, however, the cause isn’t clear.

“It leads to swollen blood vessel walls and narrowed blood vessels. Blood flow to tissues and organs is reduced or blocked. If the blood vessel wall becomes weak, bleeding can occur.”