Athlete Refuses to Let Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Stop Her From Reaching Her Dreams

Claire is an inspiration to all of us.  She continues to compete despite her major struggles. 

By Claire Connon

I have a complicated medical history which made my life change overnight. I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to be where I am.

Claire Connon

In 2004, I had just started university, and joined my college rowing team. I was hooked immediately and shown to have potential.

I joined the university’s development camp, loving it and winning my first regatta. I then returned to university hoping to join the university squad, but just before term started, I was struck down with glandular fever.

This led to me becoming mostly bed-bound, unable to manage anything but the most basic tasks. I fought my way through university, and graduated.

As time progressed, I became physically worse, eventually needing to use a wheelchair full-time.

I was finally diagnosed with a rare disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. By then I had given up on ever getting back to rowing, it seemed a world away.

Whilst becoming physically worse, I developed severe problems with my digestive system. I was unable to tolerate anything orally, becoming malnourished. I received nutrition by a tube into my small bowel. This improved my life greatly.

I went to a summer fair advertising rowing, and decided that it was time to try adaptive rowing. I looked for my nearest club, sadly an hour from me. They welcomed me with open arms, and I began to start rowing as an Arms and Shoulders para-rower.

Sadly my return was short-lived, as my bowel began to fail, making me seriously ill, leading to another long stay in hospital.

This time I began to be fed intravenously, on total parenteral nutrition. After recovering my strength and becoming stable I was back in a boat, feeling really well.

I raced six weeks after my discharge and won my first race. This was followed two weeks later at the British National Championships where I came second to an experienced rower, but beating experienced rowers as well.

My success has continued this season, winning at the Marlow Regatta, and the Home International Regatta, where I also took two minutes off of my previous time there, giving me a massive PB.

I want to be a Paralympian with all my heart and mind, the first to be fed intravenously. I refuse to let my health impairment stop me from reaching my dreams.

 Learn more about Claire and her promotion of EDS Awareness in her blog about rowing.

Claire has a blog  about her rowing.

Click here for the original source of this article

We appreciate your Likes and Comments

Get Webinar Announcements And Our FREE Guide

Support EDS Awareness

See all upcoming events

Current Poll

How long until you received a proper diagnosis for EDS?

  • >20 years (53%, 2,803 Votes)
  • 10-20 years (17%, 927 Votes)
  • 2-5 years (13%, 665 Votes)
  • 5-10 years (12%, 653 Votes)
  • 1 year (5%, 264 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,312

Loading ... Loading ...