22yo Victorian woman can’t walk after rare condition strikes

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A vibrant 22-year-old woman has been struck down by an illness that typically impacts men in their 70s.

Cassie Maxfield, a bright archaeology student and swim instructor from Victoria, suffered a medical emergency known as an aortic dissection.

It happens when there is a tear in an inner layer of a large blood vessel branching off from the heart. It typically impacts men in their 60s and 70s.

Symptoms can include severe chest or back pain that comes on suddenly, shortness of breath and loss of consciousness.

Cassie beat the odds and survived — but things didn’t go exactly to plan.

“Because of complications stemming from reduced blood flow and clotting to her lower body, she has become physically disabled, losing her ability to walk,” Cassie’s sister Steph explained in a fundraising page online.

“Since February 10 she has been in hospital undergoing intensive medical care and treatment with incredible strength and determination. Cass’s recovery has been difficult.”

The recovery process hasn’t been easy. Cassie spent a week in an induced coma. She suffered from acute kidney failure, an infarction to her spleen, compartment syndrome, which resulted in two fasciotomies.

All up she has had 10 surgeries and at one point she was facing the prospect of amputation due to the severity of an infection.

“However, there remains a continued risk of amputation due to compromised function and susceptibility to infection. Despite these immense challenges, Cass remains resolute in her determination to regain her mobility and independence,” Steph said.

Cassie has been left unable to work and has a long road to recovery ahead of her, and so the family has put together a GoFundMe in a bid to help ease the costs associated with it.

“Furthermore, Cass’s living situation may need to be adjusted to ensure accessibility and convenience. Your generosity will help cover the costs associated with relocating to an accessible home, providing her with a supportive environment conducive to her recovery and wellbeing,” Steph said.

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