Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'It's like being allergic to life': Brave gymnast who could die at any moment

A brave gymnast has a rare condition which means the sport she loves could kill her at any moment.

Natasha Coates was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome four years ago.

Everyday activities like getting out of bed and even spraying perfume could kill her.

It's like being allergic to life. No day is the same.

I can wake up one day and eat lunch and have no problem. I can eat the exact same meal the next day and it can nearly kill me.

– Natasha Coates

Natasha, from Nuthall in Nottinghamshire, was diagnosed with the rare condition after she went into anaphylactic shock on a night out with her friends.

She describes the condition as her blood cells routinely attacking things which aren't dangerous at all.

Natasha Coates has always loved gymnastics and wanted to continue training. Credit: ITV News Central

When she was first diagnosed in 2013, Natasha would just lie in bed.

But when she realised she was having just as many reactions in bed, as she did when she got up and went about her day, Natasha was determined it wouldn't stop her anymore.

She had always loved gymnastics and the 22-year-old wasn't about to give it up easily.

22
The number of British gymnastics titles Natasha has.
Natasha has little to no feeling in her arms and legs. Credit: ITV News Central

But Mast Cell Activation Syndrome - or MCAS - means Natasha has little to no feeling in her arms or legs. Most of the moves she does are by sight.

Natasha switched to disability gymnastics and is now the British Disability Champion.

I never know when I'm going to have a reaction that could kill me.

The condition is really difficult to live with, and I think that's why gymnastics is the one constant in my life.

I like coming to gymnastics because I don't have to think about anything else.

I can just come in and I know what's expected of me. There's no greater feeling than flying through the air.

– Natasha Coates

Natasha has 22 British titles altogether after winning three golds, one silver and a bronze at last month's British championships.