A teenager who was a former national Thai boxing champion has been struck down by an incurable illness leaving her in constant agony and barely able to walk.
Laken Wilkinson, 16, was a big sports fan before she began to get inexplicable pains in her legs two years ago.
The hypersensitivity in one of her legs meant that even the slightest touch or change in temperature caused her terrible pain.
After a series of tests eliminated other possibilities, the teen was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – an illness that has caused some sufferers to undergo amputations to escape the unrelenting pain.
Laken’s mum, Lindsey Wilkinson, 47, said it’s very difficult to watch her daughter go through so much pain.
She said: “On the outside, she looks fine but it’s an invisible illness – it’s all on the inside.
“As a mum you can’t do anything or take away the pain. It’s the cruellest thing I have ever seen.”
Lindsey, from Leeds, West Yorks., added: “She has sat there and said, ‘just chop off my leg’.
“A lot of the time it’s unbearable.”
Describing the condition, the mum said: “She could not wear anything on her leg because the pain would be so excruciating for her.”
Laken underwent treatment last year but sadly this did not help and then in February she woke up to find she was unable to move her leg.
The paralysis spread up her lower leg and now affects her other leg and one hip.
Now Laken has to use a wheelchair and takes a cocktail of medication, including morphine, to try to dull her pain and feelings of burning.
Devastatingly, she has also started suffering blackouts which doctors think occur when her body shuts down because of the pain.
Lindsey, who also has two older sons, Brodhi and Levi, said: “The condition exhausts her. There’s no cure for this and there’s no awareness.
“We can take her to the hospital when she’s having a flare-up but the doctor’s don’t know what it is.
“Her life has stopped – she can’t do the normal things a 16-year-old can do.
“Everything has been taken away from her.”
Despite her pain, Laken took all her GCSEs and is now determined to raise awareness of her condition.
Laken said: “I get really frustrated. Doctors seem to think that because they don’t know about it, it can’t be real.”