A THATCHAM woman has overcome a life-altering disease that has wracked her body to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
Karen May was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a condition that causes an inflammation of the digestive system which can lead to life-long swelling and pain, while she was at university.
The disease has led to the 31-year-old having her large intestine and rectum removed. Mrs May now lives with an ileostomy bag, which she said she is proud of and has learned to love.
Despite Crohn’s taking its toll, Mrs May raised more than £2,500 last year after completing a 10k run in aid of For Crohn’s. The disease has no cure and the charity is conducting researching into finding one.
Wanting to raise more money for the charity, Mrs May decided to take on the challenge again. But in March she went into hospital with a blockage in her small intestine, while 35 weeks pregnant.
Doctors performed a Caesarian section to try and clear the blockage.
Mrs May’s daughter, Megan, was born five weeks premature and was “absolutely fine, healthy and gorgeous”.
Mrs May had to have half of her small intestine removed, however, and spent 26 days in intensive care – for 17 of which she was unconscious. Nevertheless, the determined new mum carried out her pledge and walked the 10k for her charity.
She had to walk the 10k this year due to muscle wastage. “I had to work hard to build myself up and walk again as I could barely move,” she said.
“This was a challenge and I only signed up to it two weeks before as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it, as I am due to have another op.
“I had to do it as all my family and friends had signed up to walk and run, some of whom had never run before.
“They did it for me and they did wonder when they signed up if it would be in my memory. I had to prove to everyone You can and you will.
“It was a very emotional day and lovely to cross the line with my husband and daughter Megan.”
The group raised £5,000 this year, helped by Mrs May’s brother and sister running a half marathon while she was in intensive care.
Combined with last year’s run Mrs May’s group has raised more than £10,000 for For Crohn’s in just over a year.
“I’m so pleased to give something back and proud of all that took part,” Mrs May said.
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/Karen-May7/