A reluctant runner from Wigan is refusing to let a debilitating condition beat her after signing up to a gruelling athletics challenge.
Becs Heyes, from Marus Bridge, is taking on the task of running 70 miles throughout May despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) last year.
The challenge is part of the Miles for MS campaign run by the charity the MS Trust and is particularly tough for Becs as her symptoms affect her legs most severely.
She has also taken on a tough challenge as, by her own admission, she hates running!
Becs has been determined to battle back from the shock of being told she had MS, continuing to take up netball since her diagnosis and also writing about her experiences in a popular blog.
The 34-year-old said: “Since being diagnosed I have struggled with pain, spasms and weakness in my legs. It’s hard to run.
“I get quite weak and the spasms are like getting cramp that doesn’t go away.
“I thought what better way to push myself than take part in this kind of charity event.
“I saw the challenge on the MS Trust website. You choose what distance you want to do and whether you want to walk, run, cycle, use a handbike or whatever.
“I chose running because I don’t really like it. I thought why not choose the most difficult option.
“I didn’t do any training, I thought I would start on May 1. I’m getting into it a little bit more, though enjoying might be the wrong word for it. I’ve done a couple of longer ones and they were horrible.”
Becs has been doing around two miles per day and is trying to fit in a longer run of five or six kilometres at weekends to allow her to have some rest days.
She has been sporty and active for much of her life, initially working in personal training and fitness instructing roles and remaining in the leisure organisation running gyms and swimming pools in West Lancashire and South Ribble when she moved into office roles.
She was therefore stunned to end up in hospital and be told she had the condition which affects the brain and spinal cord.
She said: “I started with severe vomiting and being so dizzy I couldn’t lift my head off the floor. When I started vomiting blood I was blue-lighted to the hospital.
“I was in there about seven days having lots of scans and procedures and the diagnosis came through as MS.
“I thought I had gone in with bad food poisoning or something like that so it was a shock to be told that.
“I knew nothing about MS so was seeing the worst-case scenario, of people in wheelchairs. I read up and realised it’s not the death sentence it once was and there are a lot of treatments about.”
Once out of hospital Becs approached her situation positively, continuing with netball which she had taken up again through the Back to Netball scheme in Wigan shortly before her diagnosis.
She also started her blog to talk about the things she was going through.
She said: “I write about the silly things that happen to me and now the challenge is in there too. I hope it makes other people feel like they are not alone and it’s quite cathartic for me.”
Becs’ charity challenge has also impressed her colleagues at South Ribble and West Lancashire Community Leisure.
Contract manager Mark Snaylam, Becs’ boss, said: “We’re all really proud of Becs. She’s not let her diagnosis and aches and pains get in the way of staying active.
“Keep on running, Becs! You’re an inspiration to us all.”
To donate or find out more, visit Becs’ Everyday Hero page on the challenge’s website at https://miles-for-ms-2019.everydayhero.com/uk/rebecca-1
To read her blog, visit https://mstrialstribulationsandnoexpectations.com