‘I was sick of being tired’ - how Frank beat rare illness
DETERMINATION not to let a debilitating illness become part of his identity spurred a Southam man on the road to recovery.
A year later, Frank Redmond has become a winning triathlete and now he is well on the way to swimming the channel and back - indoors - for Aspire, a charity that helps people with spinal injuries.
Mr Redmond suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that leaves people suffering from fatigue and muscle pain. Diagnosed in 1998, when he found he could not shake off fatigue while recovering from a back injury, at his lowest he could not walk to the shops or even lift a cup of tea without using both hands.
But Mr Redmond, who worked as Leamington Football Club’s deputy safety officer, was determined not to let the illness become part of his identity.
He said: “If you have a cast on your leg or your arm in a sling, people can see there’s something wrong with you. But when they can’t see anything wrong they don’t believe there’s anything wrong or say they have had the same thing themselves.
“It becomes quite patronising and makes you feel marginalised.
“I didn’t want it to become part of my identity any more. I didn’t want to be ‘Frank who’s always tired’.”
In mourning after the death of his mother, and with two courses of antibiotics having failed to clear a chest infection, he took up walking, and found he felt more like his “tigger-like” old self.
Mr Redmond began cycling and swimming to ‘push the boundaries’ and found that with planning, eating the right food and exercise, he could lead a more normal life.
Having once taken a challenge to swim 22 miles - the distance across the Channel - in memory of his late father, he resolved to swim the distance again in memory of his mother June.
Training with Rugby Triathlon Club, he was part of a team that won a relay triathlon, and then completed a full triathlon to mark his 50th birthday, an achievement he described as “a massive personal victory”.
With 12 weeks to swim the 22-mile distance at Southam Leisure Centre, he is more than half way across and plans to see if he can make it ‘back’ before the end.
He said: “I wouldn’t say I’m cured by any means but I’m able to do stuff now that’s more akin to my life before the illness.”
Recovery from his back injury led to him choosing to help Aspire. Faced with surgery to repair the damage, he realised while attending a college for disabled people that many of his fellow students were far worse off than him.
He said: “Aspire are doing their utmost to help people who have been disadvantaged just by doing simple things like changing the position of light switches and power points. Little things that make their lives that much easier.”
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Weather for Leamington
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
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Wind direction: North west