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Fundraiser Kate Hack struck down with Weil's disease after event in New Forest
A FUNDRAISER has told how she suffered organ failure and almost died after taking part in a charity event at a Hampshire activities centre.
Kate Hack could not walk or talk after contracting a deadly disease she is thought to have caught from swimming in a New Forest lake.
Weil’s disease, which has killed four people in the UK since 2009, is caused by coming into contact with water polluted by animal urine.
Kate said she was one of four people who were struck down after taking part in the triathlon, which was held at the Avon Tyrrell centre near Bransgore in the New Forest on June 1 and attracted 200 entrants.
An investigation has been launched to establish if the 65-acre site was the source of the infection.
Kate felt the first symptoms ten days after the triathlon and initially thought she was suffering from a virus.
But the 31-year-old occupational therapist was rushed to hospital after she began gasping for breath and experiencing terrifying hallucinations.
She spent a week in intensive care and doctors suspect she would probably have died if she had been admitted any later.
Kate said: “I was dying without even realising it – and it was all because I was too complacent and had the ‘everything will be OK’ attitude.
“My lungs, liver and kidneys were all shutting down and so was my brain – that was the most worrying thing.
“When I got to hospital I kept seeing Darth Vader standing in the corner and faces moving in my sick bucket. I even forgot my own signature.”
Doctors warned Kate that she would take several months to recover and could have permanent scarring on her organs.
But she was discharged just a week after being admitted to hospital and is already planning her next charity challenge.
Kate, from Hull, stressed that she had no criticism of the triathlon organisers, Enduroman.
“I don’t blame them at all. They were really supportive and have been on the phone to me every day,” she said.
An Avon Tyrrell spokesman said: “We are working with the environmental health guys to try to establish if our lake was the source or not.”
An Enduroman spokesman added: “Nothing has been confirmed but everything points to Avon Tyrrell. That’s where everyone was all together.”
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