Pride of Britain nominee Sara Lomas tells ITV Central's Rosie Dowsing what motivates her to keep on fundraising and raising awareness of her condition.
A woman from Nottinghamshire has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award after challenging herself to an abseil, Snowdon hikes, marathon and two half-marathons while living with the constant pain of Cushing's disease.
Fitness instructor Sara Lomas, from West Bridgford, was diagnosed with the rare condition in February 2022, caused by a tumour.
Sara had the tumour removed with successful brain surgery in June 2022, but despite technically being in remission from the disease, she still lives with constant pain, memory loss and fatigue.
Cushing's disease is so rare that many GPs and medical staff have not come across it in their lifetime. For Sara, this meant fearing she may not even make it through treatment.
“There was a point where maybe I thought I would be a bit of a gonner, and so I decided rather than complain about it, I’d do something about it.”
Sara decided to do something positive in the wake of her diagnosis, and abseiled off the roof of Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham to raise money for staff to be trained specifically on conditions like hers.
Her fundraising has continued ever since, as she takes on challenges to raise vital funds for the Pituitary Foundation, a charity that helps her and so many others understand and live with their condition.
Sara has also recently become an ambassador for the charity, and intends to set up a Nottingham-based support group for others going through the same pain as her.She added: “I’ve done a 10k, and a half marathon, and I climbed up to the top of Mount Snowdon and also did a marathon”
For the majority of people, those challenges are physically demanding, but for Sara they all seemed nearly impossible - given the pain she was enduring on a day-to-day basis.
Sara said: "I cried before I even got over the start line because I didn’t think I could do it.
"I pushed myself and I tried. And then when I finished, it was an amazing feeling.
"The strength that I had to do that came from everyone else supporting me and knowing that I was raising money for such a good cause.
“I just knew then that Cushings disease had beaten me for so long, stopping me doing so much.
"That point was a turning point in life where I realised I've got this."
Sara has had to take a sabbatical from working as a fitness instructor and running fitness classes for children, due to the impact of her condition.
But she’s feeling positive about running the Robin Hood Half Marathon later this month, and is hopeful for the future.
“Cushing’s is a very cruel disease. When you know that you’ve achieved something that perhaps you thought was impossible, afterwards it almost feels like nothing is impossible.
"For people to say I’ve inspired them is just everything I hoped to do with the fundraising.
"I hope to go on and inspire more people in the future.”
Sara has been nominated for the Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year award.
It's an award sponsored by ITV regions, and the winner will be invited to the national Pride of Britain ceremony in London later this year.
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