A YORK mother says she fears she will never see her two young sons grow up after she was struck down by a one-in-500,000 illness.

Lucy Buckby, of Dunnington, has told how her ultra rare condition - idiopathic pulmonary hypertension - was only diagnosed when she was pregnant last year with her third child, Jayden.

The 28-year-old said she then had to make the heartbreaking decision to follow doctors' advice and have an abortion at 17 weeks, having been warned she otherwise faced a 50/50 chance of dying.

“Aborting the baby went against all my instincts,” she said. “I could feel it growing, there was already a bond, but I had two boys and they needed me, and I had to put them first.”

Afterwards, she says she was handed Jayden's tiny fragile body in a blanket son she could hold him and she wept, feeling guilty for not giving him the chance to live.

A week later, she placed a white and brown teddy in his tiny coffin and he was laid to rest, to Elvis Presley's song I'll Hold You In My Heart.

Lucy, a former All Saints' RC School pupil who is originally from Tang Hall, says her illness, which involves extremely high blood pressure in the vessels between the lungs and the heart, causes breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness and blackouts.

She fell ill when she was 14 weeks' pregnant with Jayden and was shopping in Selby town centre. “I felt dizzy and was seeing stars,” she said.

Doctors later told her that high blood pressure caused by the illness - which has an annual incidence of about 2 cases per million people - was straining the right side of the heart, causing it to expand and get weaker.

They said it would eventually cause her to die of a heart attack, but did not know when.

“Although I am receiving treatment to slow down the progress of the illness, and I have heard that one lady with the illness has lived with it for 12 years, my deepest fear is that I won't live long enough to see my sons, Thomas, eight, and Ashley, two, grow up," she said.

“I am creating a memory box for the boys to open when they grow up.”

Now Lucy has launched a fundraising drive for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK), to help fund research into, and raise awareness of, the condition.

She said she was planning her first event at Dunnington Sports Club at 7.30pm on Friday July 11, when there would be music by three acts, Elvis impersonator Eddie Vee, Daddy Cool and William Rawlings, with a tombola and free food, and with tickets costing £10 from the club. "Can people please come and offer their support ?" she said. "They can get tickets by ringing the sports club."