My aim is compete for team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, to win lots of medals and to make my country proud!
I have been battling various health problems for much of my life and ended up suicidally depressed and housebound for several years, due to the severity of my disabilities. That all changed when I got my first wheelchair in 2011 and I was finally free! Woohoo! I was immediately back on the badminton courts and after only one session my depression was almost completely gone. At that point I couldn't even connect with the shuttle and my wheelchair kept tipping over as it wasn't a sports chair, but I didn't care! I felt so much better. I felt alive! Badminton quite literally saved me. It's like my miracle cure - I'd self harmed daily from age 8 onwards but after that first session the urge to self harm was gone and I never self harmed again. That alone is miraculous. I also didn't care that my joints dislocated 30-50 times per game (I dislocate spontaneously due to me Ehlers-Danlos syndrome &multiple joint instability. On an average day I have over 500 a day but I just self fix and carry on with life, but each and every one is agony and the damage has resulting in my suffering from severe chronic pain in almost every part of my body).
i rapidly learned that I have a natural ability for it, I picked up my racket skills quickly and started being able to beat able bodied competitors with relative ease so my coach suggested I try competing in parabadminton as I had potential to do very well. He wasn't wrong! I came away from that tournament with my first medal and was addicted! I went on to win many more and had my sights set on the GB team. I just needed to win more medals to prove I was consistent.
Unfortunately my body threw a spanner in the works and I almost died of starvation at the end of 2014 when my gastroparesis suddenly worsened to the point I was unable to take in any calories for 70 consecutive days (and at the end I went without any fluid for 9 days). I was critically ill and rushed to hospital and it was touch and go as to whether I'd survive or not. I was terrifyingly weak and felt incredibly unwell, and needed multiple bags of IV nutrients and electrolytes to save my life. Against all odds I survived and left the hospital on tube feeds with a permanent peg-j feeding tube that I will likely need to use for the rest of my life. It's taken me until the end of last to be strong and well enough to start competing again but I learned I still have my skill as I came away from that tournament (competing against current GB team members) with 2 gold medals and a silver and was bitten by the competing bug again! It was actually easier than it used to be, even though I'd barely trained in 2 years. Tube feeding is awesome!
As I have so many medical conditions (62 in total, including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Dysautonomia,Gastroparesis & Pan Gastrointestinal and oesophageal dysmotility, Multiple joint dysplasia, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Vasovagal Syncope Syndrome, Von Willebrand Disease, Raynauds Phenomenon, Migraines, Irlens Syndrome, Bilateral Cataracts, Bilateral Sciatica and Sacroilliac Joint Instability, Asthma, Lower Limb Paralysis , Severe Chronic Pain & Fatigue. The full list can be happily provided upon request) I am physicallyunable to work enough hours to afford to train and compete as it just all costs so much and there's no funding or grants available for people over 25 years old so I have to self find everything. No easy feat when you're severely disabled and only just about able to pay your bills and keep the lights on! I'll list the costs at the bottom of this page.
I adore badminton so much! And it's something that I can do, and do well, so I'm utterly desperate to represent my country at the 2020 Paralympics but I can't do it without assistance, no matter how badly I want to do everything myself! I honestly don't believe I'd still be here unless my willpower to get on that team was so strong. It kept me fighting when everyone else thought I'd die and gives my soul a huge lift each time I play or practice. I truly adore it. So please help me get on that team, represent team GB and bring home the gold medals for my country!
The costs include:
- tournament entry fees
- travel costs (petrol, flights, parking charges) to training and competitions.
- hotel fees (As I need accessible rooms I cannot use Airbnb and hostels etc)
- training costs - court hire charges, session fees.
- sportschair maintenance, replacement tyres, repairs, etc
- kit and equipment costs - my sportschair wheels tend to destroy my badminton shirts and racket handle wrap so they both need replacing often. Rackets need occasional restringing when I break a string, rackets need replacing if I break them accidentally
- miscellaneous costs- joint tape to stabilise my joints and protect the fragile skin on my fingers during training and competition, deep heat /biofreeze to help with the pain, electrolyte tablets to keep my blood pressure high enough that I don't pass out when sat upright (due to the dysautonomia) during training and competition and dextrose sweets to prevent hypoglycaemia during competitions.
Me playing badminton in training and competition.
Some of my medals:
Some of my health problems that I battle while I'm training and competing.:
Some of my health problems that I battle while I'm training and competing.
But through it all i retain my sense of humour, hope and positivity!