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Courageous Llangollen teen fighting illness to help others

Saturday 26 December 2009

Lydia DavidUK newspaper The Leader has a profile of 15-year-old Lydia David (pictured):

Courageous Llangollen teen fighting illness to help others

Published date: 22 December 2009 | Published by: Phil Robinson

YOUNG Llangollen athletics star Lydia David is refusing to let a painful and debilitating health problem stop her in her tracks.

And the courageous teenager is now raising money for the charity which supports others with the condition which threatens to shatter her dreams.

Since joining Wrexham Athletic Club at the age of eight, 15-year-old Lydia, from Bryneglwys near Llangollen, has become a multi-eventer to reckon with, and is currently ranked fifth in Wales for shot and sixth for discus.

She has achieved this despite battling with a variety of health problems for most of her life, including respiratory and allergy conditions.

But disaster struck last March when she was diagnosed with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

Since then Lydia’s health has deteriorated to the point where she can now only attend school on two half-days a week and has had to cut down drastically on her athletics activities.

At her school, Ysgol Bryn Hyrfryd, in Ruthin, she has reduced her number of GCSE subjects to just four.

In athletics she has been forced to withdraw from practice for many months and call a halt to events such as jumping, hurdling and running to concentrate on the less physically demanding shot and discus.

But determined not to let her mounting health problems stand in her way, she will put her new specialties to the test when she competes in the shot at the Welsh Athletics Indoor Championships at Cardiff on January 30.

Lydia’s aim is to raise as much money as possible for the charity which has become her new passion – the Association of Young People with ME, AYME.

She is asking people to sponsor her per metre or give a fixed amount.

Her personal best is 9m 58cms although she does not expect to throw anywhere near this because of her failing strength.

Her next big date after Cardiff is with an ME specialist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Lydia said: “I have had problems with my health since I was little and have been making regular visits to Alder Hey to see four different specialists.

“But I’ve never let my health stop me enjoying sport. I have always just tried to get through and have as normal a life as possible.

“When I was diagnosed with ME/CFS earlier this year it was a big setback but, again, I’ll try to carry on.

“I want to raise as much money as I can for the AYME charity in Cardiff.

“I originally set a target of £300 but I’ve already had to re-set that at £400 as the sponsorship pledges have been coming in so well on forms and on the MR site on Facebook.

“The way things are going I may well have to re-set the target again.”

“I won’t get anywhere near my personal best but if I get to 8m I’ll be happy.”

Lydia’s proud mum, Caroline, said: “Both myself and her dad, Garth, think she is a very courageous young lady and just takes everything in her stride.

“She has had pneumonia three times but just keeps going. The latest diagnosis was shattering and has affected her whole life.

“She was thinking of making her career in sport and had her sights set on competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“She has had to think again about both these goals but I know she will keep on fighting.”

To support Lydia go to

For more about AYME go to

The article originally appeared here.



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