260 %
£780.00
raised of £300 target
by 67 supporters
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Louise Ballantyne avatar
Louise Ballantyne

Louise's SPARTAN AGOGE- GREAT WALL OF CHINA

Fundraising for British Thyroid Foundation

260 %
£780.00
raised of £300 target
by 67 supporters
Donate

British Thyroid Foundation

We support people with thyroid disorders to improve care and awareness in the UK

Charity Registration No. 1006391

Story

I'm taking part in a 60 hour endurance event at the Great Wall of China ran by Spartan Race. I've done lots of OCRs and although every one of them is a challenge in a different way, I wanted to so something that really will be so tough, it will change me. This event will involve various tasks; running, carrying, crawling, climbing and trekking but with added mental challenges and sleep deprivation. It's continuous for 60 hours... Yes, I'm off my head and yes I'm scared. All the more reason to try and do some good with it!

My mum, who is the most loving, caring and helpful woman I know suffers from hypothyroidism (or under active thyroid) and I've watched her suffer as I've grown up. It's a condition that I've never fully understood, and as you'll go on to read, you'll see that not many people do. That's the problem. There's a lack of research, a lack of awareness and a lack of support. If my fundraising efforts can do even just a tiny bit to support the cause and raise awareness, then I'm happy.

This is my mums story and a bit more about the condition which will hopefully allow you to understand...

What is hypothyroidism? The thyroid gland is located in the neck and secretes hormones into the blood, which are then carried into the body’s tissues. The thyroid gland mainly produces a hormone called thyroxine, which is then converted by each of the body’s organs to the active form triiodothyronine. They both work to keep the body’s organs functioning properly. Thyroid hormone is important for regulation of body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism.The symptoms vary but include: fatigue, insomnia, weakness, pain, weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight, coarse, dry hair, dry, rough, pale skin, hair loss, temperature intolerance, varied bowel movement, depression, memory loss, abnormal, menstrual cycles, decreased libido.........basically the thyroid affects every part of your body. Hypothyroidism affects 2 people in every 100, it is more common in women and if uncontrolled is life debilitating

Me and my thyroid......31 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. My initial symptoms were palpitations and blackouts, at 17 this was very frightening and I was convinced something serious was wrong with me. A few blood tests later , my GP informed me my thyroid levels were low and I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. He didn't seem too concerned so neither was I. The years passed and my thyroid levels fluctuated, medication dosages were tweaked and life went on.

However, three years ago, my body decided to throw me a curve ball, I entered the MENOPAUSE!! My thyroid levels went haywire and what I thought were menopausal symptoms were actually hypothyroid symptoms. This is a common scenario and many people are misdiagnosed at this point. My levels were off the scale and I was very very unwell. I was off work for 5 months. After many weeks, and me eventually breaking down in tears, my GP referred me to an endocrinologist, this was a massive learning curve for me and we worked together to try various medications and combination of medications. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis (an autoimmune condition where my own body was attacking my thyroid gland, therefore not producing thyroxine), my vitamin D levels were dangerously low and my vitamin B12 levels compromised. When your thyroid gland is not functioning, your body's absorption mechanism is affected therefore low levels of essential vitamins and minerals are common.

The fatigue is indescribable, the pain is constant, the brain fog is embarrassing, you can be so itchy you scratch so much you bleed, your skin is dry and easily bruised, your hair becomes thin, dry, brittle and falls out in handfuls (I wear a wig), the list goes on. I realised I had to 'manage' this condition, this meant huge changes to my lifestyle, I was no longer able to do the things I had done, working full time and shift work became a massive issue but with the support of my managers I have cut my hours and at the moment I am only working day shifts. This has allowed me to continue working, with no sick days for almost 2 years. My time off now consists of gentle walking along the beach and resting when I need to.

Thyroid disease is life changing, many people are misdiagnosed and enter a spiral of tests, appointments and sheer frustration. Outwardly, thyroid patients generally look well, I have lost count of the times when people have said " you look fine", "just exercise more", " increase your tablets and you'll be fine", "aw my granny had that and she was ok"...... But I can assure you inwardly my body is in a constant fight. There are days when I cry because I am so sore, or the fatigue is so bad even brushing my teeth is an effort.

PLEASE GIVE WHAT YOU CAN!!!

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