Hi I’m Claire - and I live, breathe, and eat rowing.
Rowing is sadly, a very expensive sport and to facilitate my dreams of becoming the world’s first intravenously fed Paralympian I really need my own specially adapted boat. I’ve not had the easiest ride to get to where I am, and now I’m here I hope you can help me fulfil my dreams.
A promising rower at the age of 19 I was struck down by glandular fever. Since then I have experienced many severe and complex complications of my underlying genetic disorder Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). I have become a full time wheelchair user, been too ill to leave the house, (on many occasions too unwell to leave my bed), and have lost the ability to digest food. Through this, however, all I was bothered about was the fact I couldn’t row. I couldn’t accept the fact that I’d never be back in a boat.
I was ecstatic when I became well enough to return to rowing albeit as a para-rower thanks to Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). It has been said I make a better para-rower than standard rower!
Intravenous feeding (TPN) means that I have a piece of tubing tunnelled into my chest that runs through the vein and straight into my heart. I use this to pump in a sterile mixture of glucose, vitamins, minerals and other essentials needed to replace a normal healthy diet.It is a lifesaving way of receiving nutrition, but as well as saving my life it has changed it completely.
I’m currently borrowing a boat, which I need to return, and nowhere in Cambridge has a suitable replacement. Para-boats are different to normal boats. I need a fixed seat, with a different set up to a standard boat. They’re also not so easy to come across, nor are they cheap. £3000 will buy me a mid-range boat and a pair of blades, nothing fancy, but it’s enough to make a huge difference to my life and training.
If I raise over my target, the money will go towards setting up a local para-club, so that others with a disability in this rowing obsessed city can have a go at rowing.
This is a chance to make history, there have been, as far as I’m aware, no other elite athletes on TPN.
I’m asking you to be part of this and help me achieve my dream. You will have the chance to to say you knew me from the start and helped me win, when I go to Rio in 2016.
If you cannot help me financially you can still do your part by spreading the word to friends and family.