"I had never even heard the word 'Lyme,'" Denise Ryan says of life before her diagnosis.

The 31-year old Dubliner was living and working in Canada when she first started noticing some strange symptoms around four years ago.

"I was throwing up all day, I couldn't see properly, I was confused and had heart palpitations," she says.

Lyme Disease, which is contracted from a tick bite, has gained a lot of press over the last 12 months as celebrities like Avril Lavigne and Yolanda Foster share their stories, but back in 2011 and 2012, it wasn't quite so well-known.

As it took so long for Denise's illness to be diagnosed, she has been left with a number of life-threatening issues, from pneumonia, gastroparesis, Lyme arthritis, severe osteoporosis and muscle wasting to many bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.

Last summer Denise successfully travelled to Seattle for three months to undergo treatment from specialist doctors there, after raising tens of thousands through her first crowdfunding campaign, 3,000 Tenners. However far more treatment and time is needed for Denise to really get the help she needs. 

"I'm so weak after being sick for so long that my immune system is completely disabled and a lot of opportunistic infections have developed so I'll need a long time of very intensive care and monitoring," she explains.

If you want to help Denise, you can donate via her second campaign page, 10,000 Tenners

"Looking at it like needing 10,000 tenners (€10/$10/£10) makes it seem a little more possible," she says.

You can also help to raise funds by supporting Denise on Etsy, where she's selling this undeniably brilliant Pat Mustard tee:

Pat Mustard on a t-shirt AND it's for a great cause… who can say no to that?