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Woman with Chronic Illness Becomes Competitive Weightlifter

Woman with Chronic Illnesses Becomes Competitive Weightlifter and Trainer

Due to chronic illnesses, Clare Dane had been bedridden for years and had to give up her career aspirations and dreams. But back in 2019, she started exercising as a new way to manage her conditions.

Fast forward to May 2023 and Clare is now a competitive weightlifter and trainer, who has also earned a place at the World Olympic Weightlifting Championships. This article will take a closer look at her inspiring and remarkable story.

What health challenges has Clare faced?

Throughout her life, Clare has experienced various health issues, such as skin infections and seizures, which led to her being bedridden for five years. Furthermore, she is dealing with four chronic illnesses consisting of rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, postural tachycardia syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

Even though Clare faced challenges due to her illnesses, she was determined not to be defined by them. Clare started considering the advantages of physical activity and exercise when she realised that medication alone was insufficient in helping, or alleviating, her symptoms. Initially, starting slowly with small movements at home, Clare gradually built up her stamina and mobility.

Where did her fitness journey lead?

Clare became a qualified fitness instructor during the summer of 2019 and began her job at a nearby gym. She was introduced to Olympic weightlifting while working there and it wasn’t long after that until she joined a regular class and soon got the bug.

Although she was small, standing at only 5ft4ins and weighing 49kg, she began weightlifting and found that it gave her a boost in strength and confidence. This led her to quickly beginning to compete, both nationally and internationally.

In March 2020, Clare faced an obstacle due to the Covid-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom. As she was a vulnerable person, she had to shield for a prolonged period of time. However, she didn't give up and instead continued with her training by setting up a home gym.

In the present day, Clare can lift almost twice her body weight and is a competitive weightlifter and weightlifting trainer, coaching other weightlifters. Furthermore, Clare achieved second place in her category during the International Olympic Weightlifting competition that took place in Poland in summer 2022.

How has weightlifting changed her life?

Since she began weightlifting, Clare has witnessed a radical transformation in her overall health and quality of life, stating that weightlifting has given her "a completely different life", crediting her success to a combination of consistent training and a positive mindset, while also refusing to let her illnesses hold her back.

On December 8 this year, Clare and her coach are going to Florida for her to participate in the world championships and represent Great Britain with pride, though to achieve that, Clare has to collect £5,000 to pay for travel expenses, gym clothing, and equipment. In order to make this happen, she launched a GoFundMe page to accomplish her goal and has raised over £3,000 so far, which puts her on track to reach her target.

What does Clare hope to achieve in the future?

Clare aims to encourage individuals with chronic illnesses to discover the advantages of exercising and to demonstrate that with determination and persistence, achieving anything is possible. Clare's current weightlifting achievements include a deadlift record of 110kg, a clean and jerk record of 71kg, and a best back squat weight of 90kg.

A few years ago, she never thought that she would be able to achieve this and wants others to know that it is possible for them too. This is why she is choosing to share her story with the world, in order to demonstrate that perseverance and not giving up can lead to significant outcomes.

What platforms could be used to share this story?

Clare's story is an inspiring one and could be shared on multiple platforms. For example, social media such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter can be used to spread her message and uplift others by showing them that physical activity can have a positive effect on health and wellness.

Additionally, Clare could set up a YouTube channel where she could upload videos of her training and competing, as well as post life updates. This could help to motivate and encourage those who are reluctant to exercise due to health limitations or any other reason.

Furthermore, Clare could write for online publications or blogs about her experience with weightlifting and chronic illnesses, in order to educate others about what exactly her illnesses are and how physical activity has benefitted her.

Finally, podcasting is an increasingly popular way of communicating stories and messages; it could be utilised to further share her story on a more personal level, as people would hear it in her own words, expressing her own emotions. Also podcasting is a great way of getting others involved, by collaborating and inviting people or groups to speak and share their stories and thoughts as well.

Final thoughts

Clare Dane's story is one of resilience, courage, and perseverance. Despite facing multiple chronic illnesses, she refused to let her conditions define her and instead took control of her health through exercise.

Her transformation from a bedridden patient to a competitive weightlifter and trainer is inspiring and serves as an inspiring example to others. Let's hope Clare has the best of luck in the World Olympic Weightlifting Championships and hope that her journey and example will encourage others to prioritise their health and well-being.

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Article written by Dylan Moore

Dylan, originaly from Turkey, discovered his passion for programming and podcasting online. Him and his team later founded PodApp, a user-friendly platform designed to make podcasting accessible to everyone. Read more