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By Charles Wade-Palmer, originally published in the Daily Star on 3rd June 2018
Natalie Wilson travelled to the most remote corners of the UK to raise awareness of her condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
Natalie, 29, lives in a neck brace after contracting EDS – a disease which weakens the entire body – five years ago.
She finished her gruelling 5,000-mile ride after three months on the road.
The Beast from the East saw Natalie get off to a dangerous start, as roads froze or became covered in snow drifts.
She said: “The toughest part of the journey has to be cycling in the snow up stupidly steep gradients in Devon and Cornwall when the temperature dropped to minus eight. “When I was really struggling I just compared it to the pain when I had brain surgery, which was a lot worse than what I was going through on the trike.”
Her EDS means Natalie suffers severe problems with her stomach, bladder, bowel, heart rate and blood pressure.
Her joints can also easily dislocate. Natalie started the mammoth trip by leaving her home in Wokingham, Berks, to run the Brighton Half Marathon.
After circumnavigating the coastline on a recumbent trike, she returned to the Sussex town, only to then cycle the remaining 85 miles home.
The super-fit cyclist said: “This journey has been very tough but incredible, I took it on to raise awareness of EDS and I encouraged everyone and anyone to join and host me the whole way round.
“I have made hundreds of new friends all with their own inspiring stories, local communities have rallied round and helped me when I have had problems.”
Natalie suffered serious mechanical problems in remote northern Scotland and had to have a tooth out in Newcastle.
She said: “There is a part of me that wants to cycle the whole route again just to spend time with all the people I have met.
“I feel privileged to have been able to push my imperfect body and have this wonderful experience.”
Categorized in: Society News