This is the moment Tahlia Smith has been waiting for.
After months of fundraising and anticipation, the young Raworth woman is finally ready to head to Germany for the radical new treatment which, she hopes, will put an end to her suffering.
For the past five years Tahlia, 21, has hosted the aggressive – and politically controversial – condition known as Lyme disease.
But with the Australian government refusing to fund treatment for the disease (some doctors refuse to acknowledge its existence in Australia) Tahlia needed to raise $100,000 to access the overseas treatment.
But with the help of the Maitland community, Tahlia will leave for Germany on Friday.
“I finally have clearance to start treatment to kill this horrible, horrible disease,” she said.
“I never thought the day would come where I’d get the chance to go over there to get the treatment I truly need to make me better.
“My life has been turned completely upside down and this is the chance to turn it back the right way.”
Caused by an infected tick bite, Lyme disease is both insidious and cruel, with symptoms that include uncontrollable convulsions, unrelenting nausea, constant leg tremors and agonising joint pain.
It remains unclear whether Tahlia was bitten in Australia or America during tours to promote her performing arts career.
But Tahlia also has two other bacterial infections, so while the treatment is expected to annihilate Lyme disease, it may not destroy the subsequent co-infections.
The young woman has also extended her sincere thanks to the people of Maitland who have rallied to help one of their own.
“This would not be happening without all of the amazing financial support I have had from my amazing family, friends and wonderful community”, Tahlia said.
“I thank every single person from the bottom of my heart who has supported me with all the wonderful fundraisers that have allowed me to seek hope in being the healthy girl I once was.
“My Lyme journey has not been fun, nor has it been at all easy, but the next journey I embark on overseas will not in anyway be any easier. It will be the toughest yet.
“But they say there is always light at the end of the tunnel and I’m expecting the end of my tunnel to be as bright as the bloody sun.”