Hi! We're Kate and Sarah. Our plan is to raise awareness of a condition that's close to our hearts (or wombs!) Endometriosis by raising funds for www.endometriosis-uk.org
So, we’ve decided to cycle the 150 mile route from West to East across the UK in a single day, taking in some of the most beautiful countryside and challenging hills that this small Island has to offer.
What? *Cycling 150 miles Coast to Coast in a day *
When? 14th of July 2019
Where? Seascale to Whitby
Why? Because Endometriosis is poorly understood, under/mis diagnosed and under-researched, yet impacts the lives of thousands of women worldwide. We want to raise awareness of this condition and hope to inspire other women/girls to seek the help, advice and support they crave and deserve.
Who? Kate Thorne (me) and Sarah Prince.Through our shared love of cycling we have had the pleasure to meet each other. Sarah leads the Rapha Womens’ Rides in Manchester. She has been a massive inspiration and is always pushing herself further on the bike and brings out the best in the women she cycles with.
Sarah has suffered with painful periods since her teens, but didn't know it was Endometriosis until just last year (2018) when she was finally referred to have an operation resulting in a diagnosis of endometriosis.
Pretty much the same story for me but I had a hysterectomy in 2017 (to read more about our struggle with Endometriosis and how it's effected our lives, you can find our stories further down the page).
Massing THANK YOU to everyone that's joining us on this epic adventure!!
* Riders *
- Anna Blyth
- Danielle Aghanian
- Hannah Booth (broken pelvic ☹️)
- Jill Phethean
- Judi Greenwood
- Julia Kolkmann
- Kate Thorne
- Kath Lloyd-Williams
- Kay Erin
- Lucía Fernández
- Ruth Jackson
- Sarah Crosby
- Sarah Prince (endometriosis stops play ☹️)
- Shelley Parkinson
Why have we been inspired to do this?
To help bring about greater awareness of a poorly understood, massively under-diagnosed and debilitating health condition known as Endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis), or endo for short, is the name given to the condition when endometrium cells, like the ones that grow every month in the lining of the womb (uterus), grow elsewhere in the body, particularly the bladder, bowel and organs surrounding the uterus. Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up, then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape, causing internal scarring, discomfort, pain and a variety of issues that can impact on everyday well-being. Internal organs may be damaged or bound to each other. The outcome of this is a range of physical symptoms that make carrying out everyday life difficult and painful.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that can cause painful and heavy periods. In some cases it can also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age. Around 1 in ten women are currently living with the condition, the chances are you already know someone with Endometriosis.
Because the menstrual cycle is usually a natural process that women go through every month it is often overlooked when a woman reports to medical professionals that there is difficulty or unusual discomfort, even pain. For this reason, Endometriosis can go undiagnosed for many years, causing women and their families an enormous amount of distress. It is not known why Endometriosis affects some women and
not others, and although surgery can help there is no known cure for this condition.
Since her early teens Sarah suffered with horrendous pains throughout the month of her period. Numerous visits later to the doctors explaining what symptoms she was suffering which she just got told to:
‘Deal with it, it’s period pain!’
But never being able to conceive, pains that were at time disabling and symptoms that over the years became unmanageable Sarah eventually had the operation to diagnose endometriosis after pleading with doctors saying enough was enough.
Suffering with the symptoms for 3 decades has been a lonely place at times and one that until now has not been understood. It was meeting more women through cycling that shared their stories that has spurred Sarah on to raise awareness so it’s not a taboo subject and that on a down day it’s not a case of period pain but a whole host of other symptoms that we have to face and manage.
* Our hope is that enough research will be undertaken to find a way to treat this dreadful disease, reducing the amount of unnecessary suffering that it causes, and help make it possible for women to start a family before it is too late.
In 2014 Le Tour de Yorkshire sped past my house in Holmfirth and spanked it up Holme Moss in under 6 minutes. This was the beginning of my infatuation with cycling!
In the past four years I have been through an enormous metamorphosis, I've always enjoyed exercise but never really thought of it as a way of life. Now if I go a few days without getting out on the bike I start to feel like something is missing, every weekend is a cycling adventure and any holidays are now orientated around how much cycling can be packed in and what new terrain we can explore.
I started out riding into the village and back, a mere 4 mile route returning home with wobbly jelly legs, and quickly built it up to an easy (although not at the time) 10 miles loop. Soon I was cycling 20 miles averaging 2000 feet of elevation. The miles grew as did my strength and within two years I was going on Sportives and challenging myself to harder and longer rides. All of this with the encouragement of my 20 yearlong partner Bez <3
Throughout this time I have had to contend with a monthly setback – a menstrual cycle (or moon cycle as I like to call them). Now you might be thinking ‘well that’s not really a setback,’ but it is when you have Endometriosis.
On the 17th of May 2017 I was diagnosed with Stage4 Endometriosis. After two decades of suffering with debilitating painful periods, fatigue, mood swings and hormonal imbalance (which not only affects me but the people around me, especially my long supportive partner Bez) it was finally discovered that I have this disease. One of the only ways to find out if you actually have it is to have an operation to look inside your womb and the surrounding area (laparoscopic surgery).
Sadly I wasn't offered this surgery and was repeatedly fobbed off with pain killers and peppermints for IBS. It was only discovered after ten years of trying to have children with no success, and being told that there was nothing wrong with my reproductive plumbing (“just try to relax! It’s all in your head – you could try counselling”), that I had to make the decision to have a Hysterectomy because my womb was crammed with Fibroids. When the surgeon cut my tummy open
(from navel to pubic bone) she was faced with a terrible mess. My womb was bonded to my large intestine, the left ovary and fallopian tube was covered in endo and there were fibroids on the inside and outside of the womb. Well! That answers why I have had such debilitating moon cycles for so long.
After the Hysterectomy I was hopeful that this would be the end of the monthly roller-coaster of hormones, anxiety and pain, but sadly after about three months the cycle started to return. Though there were some improvements - no bleeding, no womb cramps, no being sick, not having to stay in bed for four days every 26 days. I continue to experience bowel pain, back ache, leg pain, headaches, fatigue and hormonal crazies, due to the continued presence of endometriosis and the scar tissue is has created in my pelvic. I am left wondering if this condition had been considered 15 years ago, maybe my options would have been very different. For this reason, I would like to help raise the general level of awareness and understanding of endo, in the hope that in the future, women will be listened to, endometriosis will be considered as a possible cause for infertility and period pain, and will be referred to the right specialists.