A 20-strong team of Network Rail workers from Ely are set to parachute out of a plane for a charity close to their hearts

Marcela Sands suffers from Lupus

Marcela Sands suffers from Lupus - Credit: Archant

A team of daredevil Network Rail workers are to jump out of a plane later this summer to raise money for the St Thomas’ Lupus Trust.

The 20 workers from the Network Rail Depot in Ely are doing the skydive in August after colleague Marcela Sands was diagnosed with Lupus last August.

The St Thomas’ Lupus Trust is a registered charity dedicated to raising funds to support vital pioneering work of the Lupus Research Team and the patient unit at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Marcela was diagnosed after an optician noticed a build-up of pressure in the left eye during a routine eye test.

She underwent numerous tests including MRI scans before being diagnosed with Lupus.

She said: “The symptoms of Lupus are awful some days to cope with. They have a wide range including: Fatigue, flu like symptoms, constant headaches, painful and swollen joints, trouble concentrating, photosensitivity, numbness and pains in the face and head.

“When I attended my appointment with the rheumatologist consultant at King’s Lynn, he told me I was actually tested positive in 2011 for Lupus. This certainly answers some outstanding questions to my health issues over the past few years. Since 2011 I have had a knee operation, hand operation and suffered with constant headaches and visual disturbances I even had to be taken to hospital while away on holiday due to a severe reaction to the sun. “Eight months on since my diagnosis I am still suffering with numerous and changing symptoms on a daily basis, the swelling on my optic nerve in my left eye is now also affecting my right eye. But with the help of my loving family and understanding work colleagues I can continue to carry on working. I am now waiting to see the consultant at The Louise Coote Lupus unit at Guys Hospital in London and I am hopeful they will be able to control some of my symptoms.”

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The team is looking to raise £7,900 by their skydiving efforts and are holding a fundraising coffee morning at the depot in Station Road, Ely on Tuesday May 10, from noon to 2pm to mark World Lupus Day.

They are looking for raffle prizes with all proceeds to St Thomas Lupus Fund - donations and prizes can be dropped off at the depot.

To sponsor the skydivers visit: https:www.justgiving.com/Network-Rail-Ely-Depot