I am a healthy and fit soccer player

A FOOTBALL athlete with a mysterious illness went from hitting the gym one day to struggling to get out of bed and nearly dying the next day.

Steven Williams, 36, is known for being active and fit – he regularly goes to CrossFit classes, plays soccer and even joins a band.

Steven Williams with his friend Alecs, who helped raise cash for his treatment


Steven Williams with his friend Alecs, who helped raise cash for his treatmentCredit: Steven Williams / MEDIA WALES
Steven was a football player and exercised care before he got sick


Steven was a football player and exercised care before he got sickCredit: Steven Williams / MEDIA WALES

But his life changed forever last February when he began to realize that getting out of bed had become a major struggle.

The Welshman said: “I have never had any kind of mental health problem before.

“I suddenly started to worry and panic very violently for no apparent reason.

“Literally within a few days, everything changed.

“I went from a week before taking a CrossFit class and getting fit and healthy, to being off work for eight months.”

Steve, from Maesteg in south Wales, called the ordeal “appalling” and remembers being nearly taken to A&E for treatment because his panic attack had gotten so bad.

Most read in The Irish Sun

All the daily chores of getting up, showering and dressing became overwhelming and he started experiencing extreme shaking – sometimes lasting 18 hours a day and constant ringing in his ears.

“I almost lost my life in the summer, it was absolutely horrible,” he said.

Steven got help from his doctor, who suspected the 36-year-old might have an adrenal tumor or a brain tumor.

He was referred for a CT scan but due to the ongoing pandemic and NHS delays he decided to get private medical treatment.

But the scans showed no trace of the tumor in Steve’s results.

He was then given antidepressants but these drugs made his symptoms worse.

He was eventually referred to ketamine therapy but found that didn’t work either.

Thankfully, his therapist noticed Steven’s unusual reaction, which he had seen in another patient before.

“He had seen another patient react the same way and they happened to have Lyme disease, so he suggested I go get it checked out,” says Steven.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by infected ticks, which makes sense for Steven.

He said: “I live in the valleys and I spent a lot of my time locked up in the mountains walking my dogs.

“It makes sense because there’s not much else to do. I think I’m taking care of myself and being healthy.”

Steven was eventually diagnosed with end-stage chronic Lyme disease in November, meaning the infection had spread to his nervous system and caused inflammation in his brain.

Since then, he has been under the care of a therapist and a dietitian and is currently on a strict diet to help stabilize his condition.

“It helped me get back to work and get back to work, but it didn’t have the healing effect,” he said.

There is no cure for Lyme disease in the UK and so Steven is hoping to be treated at a specialist center in Germany.

“They heat your core up to 43 degrees in six hours because bacteria can’t survive at that temperature,” he said.

“They also give you antibiotics along with killing the bacteria. You’re there for about three to three and a half weeks, it’s intense.”

The treatment was expensive and Steven couldn’t afford it after spending more than £20,000 on private medical expenses.

His friends have now set up a GoFundMe page to raise cash to cover those expenses.

Mate Alecs Donovan, who set up the page?, said: “He’s the nicest and he would never do it on his own.

“He was never one to complain and he was very humble about the amount of pain he went through.

“When he talked about how much the treatment would cost, and maybe looking at a mortgage, I just told him people would want to help.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support, even from strangers, and I just said if 30,000 people give £1 each, they won’t realize it but it changes everything.”

She added: “If I had £30,000 I wouldn’t hesitate to give it to him, but this is just one small thing I can do to help.

Steven said: “I am overwhelmed with all the love and support from everyone.

“Even complete strangers, that’s just too kind and I’m totally appreciative of their kindness.”

What is Lyme disease?


LYME disease is a bacterial infection spread by infected ticks.

Ticks feed on human and animal blood and can be found in the UK, Europe and North America.

Most people develop a distinctive red rash that is circular in shape with a ring around it three to 30 days after they’ve been bitten.

The rash can vary in size significantly and may extend over several days or weeks.

However, one in three people with Lyme disease will not develop a rash, and some experience flu-like symptoms; fatigue, muscle aches, headache, high temperature, joint pain, chills and stiff neck.

If left untreated, someone with Lyme disease can develop more serious symptoms including:

  • Severe joint pain
  • Nervous system pain can lead to facial paralysis, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating
  • Heart problems, such as myocarditis
  • Inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord such as meningitis

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, and you should see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms described following a tick bite.

Most people require a prescription for two to four weeks depending on how advanced the condition is.

For particularly severe cases, the patient is referred to a specialist for antibiotic injections.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease.

Steven thinks he contracted Lyme disease while walking his dog in captivity


Steven thinks he contracted Lyme disease while walking his dog in captivityCredit: Steven Williams / MEDIA WALES I am a healthy and fit soccer player

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