A nurse who is fighting a life-shortening medical condition has been crowned the Ultimate Pride of Essex.

Charlotte Lomas, 28, graduated with a 1st class degree in nursing from Anglia Ruskin University and now works full-time at the Broomfield Hospital burns unit despite suffering debilitating illness and having a cardiac arrest during her training.

In 2014, Charlotte was working as a healthcare assistant when she had a seizure and ended up in hospital.

It was the first of 163 seizures in eight months, the worst of which left her in a coma in intensive care.

After starting her degree in March 2015, Charlotte’s studies were regularly interrupted by spells in hospital at Broomfield and St Barts in London due to problems absorbing nutrients as her weight plummeted.

Charlotte retuned to university and controlled her chronic pain with steroids until she collapsed while on placement at Broomfield, had a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated with CPR.

Following a six-week stay in hospital, Charlotte spent the next six months recovering at home in Maldon.

She had a 150cm nasal feeding tube fitted to help control her weight and, as Charlotte’s mobility was severely limited, her mum quit her to job to become her full-time carer.

Charlotte was diagnosed with polyglandular autoimmune syndrome and then mast cell activation syndrome.

This is where white bloods cells start attacking glands, the heart and muscles.

She described her body as “attacking itself from the inside”.

Tragically, doctors believe this will significantly shorten Charlotte’s life.

For the family, the situation is even more upsetting as Charlotte’s father has been diagnosed with incurable cancer.

Charlotte was shocked to win the top award at the Pride of Essex ceremony.

She said: “When my name came up on the screen, it felt like it wasn’t really happening. It was incredible. I’ve never had a feeling like it.

“I can’t ever imagine someone looking at me and thinking I’m inspiring. I just want to live. I’m doing everything I can to do that.’

“Broomfield saved my life’

“I’ve always wanted to work in the burns unit and my colleagues have been so supportive.

“They’re always there to help me but also just treat me as a normal person.

‘I owe my life to the NHS.

“Nobody can cure my condition but they’re managing it in the best possible way.”