A SOUTHAMPTON teenager who cannot eat has revealed how she has turned her life around and created a brighter future.

Lauren Blake 19, from Bitterne Park, is living with a rare condition which has resulted in her suffering from many illnesses, one of which prevents her from eating.

At the age of 13, Lauren, who attended Bitterne Park Secondary School dislocated her knee in sports class.

After six years of suffering with up to 80 joint dislocations a day Lauren was diagnosed with Ehlers syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder.

After this, Lauren was then diagnosed with four other life changing illnesses.

This included gastroparesis, which means she is tube fed, mast cell activation syndrome, which means she could have an anaphylactic shock at any time, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome which is a heart condition.

Lauren said: “We knew about the condition and I was in pain everyday, but a lot of people just thought it was growing pains, it took so long for it to be diagnosed.

“Being 19, everything socially revolves around food and drinking and I was so worried about what people would think about me being tube fed.”

Currently there is no cure for gastroparesis, but Lauren added: “It has taken a long time for me to come to terms with it, but I just do my best to take everyday as it comes.”

Despite, these four life debilitating illnesses Lauren says being part of girl guiding has saved her life.

She has taken part in girl guiding since the age of five and she now runs a rainbow group in West End and she is a leader brownie for a group in Bitterne Park.

Lauren said:”Taking part in girl guiding has made me realise that there is life outside my illness and I want other people who may be suffering to be aware of that too.”

Lauren is due to start work at the Rose Association in Southampton, which provides care for young disabled people.