A MANCHESTER woman who lost both legs after being diagnosed with one of the most painful conditions known took part in the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run to raise awareness of the charity she set up.
Victoria Abbott-Fleming took on the 10km event in the city centre of Manchester for the second year running as a double above knee amputee, without the use of prosthetics.
The qualified barrister had to give up her career after being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare chronic condition which is considered to be one of the most painful currently known, following a minor accident at work in 2003 when she fell down the stairs.
The condition causes extreme burning in the limbs following an injury, extreme sensitivity to even the most minor changes in temperature or environment and resulted in painful sores and ulcers on Victoria's leg.
Three years after the original diagnosis, it was decided that Victoria's right leg needed to be amputated, and after contracting swine flu on holiday in 2014 where she was given a 20% chance of survival, a tear in the sciatic nerve led to a devastating second CRPS diagnosis, this time in her left leg.
Nine months later, her remaining leg was also amputated, confining the then-35-year-old to a lifetime in a wheelchair; unable to use prosthetics due to the extreme pain she suffered while attempting to fit them.
Victoria, who was brought up in Heald Green and went to William Hulme Grammar School in Whalley Range, founded Burning Nights CRPS Support, dedicated to supporting those affected by the condition as well as raising awareness among the public.
And last year, she took on her first Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run – enjoying it so much that she didn't hesitate in signing up for this year's event, which took place on Sunday, 28 May.
Victoria said: "When we arrived in Manchester I was wondering if it was going to be as busy as last year but it was. The atmosphere was fantastic and there was an air of defiance among the crowds.
“On every part of the 10k route there were bands and groups of people lining the streets, clapping and cheering us on. We didn't know these people but it was as if they did know us. Everyone was just so friendly and supportive. They could see the parts where we started to struggle and with their claps and cheers this spurred us on to continue.
“Even though it seems a tough challenge if it's something you don't normally do you want to carry on to the finish line for the charity and for the people who use and support the charity.
“The crowds, atmosphere and support you get is something not to be missed. Our team are certainly looking at completing the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run next year making it our third year taking part in such a fantastic event around the centre of the great city of Manchester.”
How To Enter
Europe's biggest 10K, which was accompanied by a half marathon for the first time in May, returns to the city centre of Manchester on Sunday, 20 May, 2018, with entries for both distances open now.
The 10K and half marathon both start on Portland Street, the half marathon plots a course to Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, before heading west to Manchester United's Old Trafford, where it picks up the 10K route back into the city centre, finishing on Deansgate alongside the iconic Beetham Tower.
To enter, visit greatrun.org/Manchester