A RHEUMATOID arthritis sufferer will step out in the St Helens 10k on Sunday inspired by the Steve Prescott Foundation motto ‘the body achieves what the mind believes’ .
Catherine Hankin was was diagnosed with the debilitating inflammatory disease aged 15.
Barely able to walk, Catherine had to take years of medication, including steroids which led to her needing a double-hip replacement due to osteoarthritis.
However, in November 2012, after she was given a new drug called Tocilizumab at St Helens Hospital, her life has turned around.
The drug enables her to take much lower doses of steroids and has seen her pain and fatigue reduce dramatically.
And in September of last year, after being introduced into a weight loss scheme, the Birchley St Marys primary school teaching assistant started to take up running.
After completing a five-kilometre race, she started running sessions twice a week.
So far this year, Catherine has signed up for three 5k races, and has been gearing herself for the St Helens 10k this weekend.
“I am so excited to be running through my hometown and to run the 10k, especially. It is just a massive sense of achievement,” said 27-year-old Catherine.
“If it wasn’t for the wonderful staff at St Helens hospital giving me the chance to try the new drug, and all the support from some amazing friends along the way, I would never have even dreamed of becoming a runner. My family and friends say I beam with a smile when I talk about my new love for running.
“I am also a strong believer in Steve Prescott’s motto: ‘The body achieves, what the mind believes’ which I believed in myself when taking up running,” she added.
Catherine also has plans to take on the Wigan Sport Relief 6 mile, Manchester Marathon, as part of a four-leg relay, and the Manchester Bupa 10k, and hopes to train towards a half-marathon within the next year.