Lyme-disease sufferer, 27, is forced to live in a TENT

Lyme-disease sufferer, 27, is forced to live in a TENT: Battling the condition for 12 years has left her allergic to even the slightest hint of mould and means she cannot reside in a house

  • Rachel Gordon was diagnosed with the condition privately last year
  • Her mother Helen Gordon claims NHS doctors insist she has chronic fatigue
  • Lyme disease has suppressed Rachel’s immune system, causing her allergy
  • Exposure causes her hair to fall out and makes her suffer severe headaches
  • After living in a tent for the past four months, her family worry about winter 

A woman is forced to sleep in a tent after battling Lyme disease for 12 years has left her allergic to even the slightest hint of mould.

Rachel Gordon, 27, who is believed to be from London, was diagnosed with the condition privately last year after NHS doctors told her she had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Due to Lyme disease suppressing sufferers’ immune systems, exposure to mould, which is present in most homes to some extent, causes Rachel’s hair to fall out, as well as her suffering from severe headaches and congestion to the point she can barely hear.

This has led to Rachel living in a tent for the past four months, causing her family to worry how she will cope come winter.

Rachel and her mother Helen Gordon are speaking out to raise money towards herbal treatment, believing antibiotics could cause her to relapse if she develops resistance.

Rachel Gordon is forced to sleep in a tent after battling Lyme disease for 12 years has left her allergic to even the slightest hint of mould. Exposure causes her hair to fall out

Mould also causes Rachel to suffer headaches and congestion, leading to her living in a tent for the past four months. Her family worry how she will cope when come winter

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Supermodel Bella Hadid was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. 

Her mother, Yolanda, and brother, Anwar both have the disease as well.

The family likely got the disease in upstate New York where the family had a horse barn.  

Hadid’s Lyme disease has caused her both mental and physical anguish. 

Her diagnosis was reportedly the reason she dropped out of a promising equestrian career. 

The 21-year-old Victoria’s Secret model has become an outspoken advocate for the difficult-to-diagnose disease that is often called invisible.  

‘Rachel has ‘an extraordinarily will to recover’

According to her mother, Rachel, who was forced to quit her studies at the Royal College of Art, has an official diagnosis of CFS due to the NHS not accepting she has Lyme disease.

Helen said: ‘Chronic Lyme disease is not acknowledged in this country.

‘As far as the NHS is concerned, Rachel’s private tests are inaccurate, unreliable and irrelevant; they will not investigate further.’ 

Helen adds CFS specialists have told her daughter ‘”some people get better and some don’t”, whilst her actual diagnosis is discredited and ignored.’

Although the lack of support drives some sufferers to suicide, Helen says, Rachel has ‘an extraordinarily positive attitude and will to recover, to live’.

Helen is also keen to raise awareness of Lyme-disease symptoms, adding only 40 per cent of patients develop the tell-tale bullseye rash.

Other symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue. 

Donate towards Rachel’s treatment here.  


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. Ticks are tiny arachnids found in woodland areas.

The parasites feed on the blood of humans and animals. Their bites often go unnoticed, leaving the tick to remain for several days gorging on blood, before dropping off.

The longer the tick is left in place, the higher the risk of it passing on the infection.

Lyme disease can affect a person’s skin, joints, heart and nervous system.

What are the symptoms? 

The earliest and most common symptom is a pink or red circular rash around the bite site. It can develop three to 30 days after a person is bitten. The rash is described as being similar to a bull’s-eye on a dart board.

An infected person may also suffer flu-like symptoms, including tiredness, headaches and muscle or joint pain.

If left untreated, further symptoms, including muscle pain and temporary paralysis of the facial muscles, can develop months or even years later.

In its late stages the disease can trigger symptoms similar to fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Lyme disease is not contagious but is the most common tick-borne infection in Europe and North America. 

It has gained more exposure in the last few years as celebrity sufferers – including Bella Hadid and Avril Lavigne – have spoken out about their condition.  

Most tick bites happen in late spring, early summer and the autumn – the times when people are most likely to be outside, hiking or camping.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease. The best way to avoid it, is to avoid being bitten.

Experts advise people walking in woodland areas wear long-sleeved clothes, tuck trousers into socks, use insect repellent, and importanly check for ticks when they return home.

What to do if you find a tick:

If you do find a tick they can be removed by gently gripping the parasite as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers, and pulling steadily from the skin. Never use a lit cigarette end, a match head or essential oils to force the tick out. 

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