Here is Ailsa's story:
I was diagnosed with a life debilitating disease in 1995 at the age of 18 called Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis(PVNS). It is a joint disease characterized by inflammation and overgrowth of the joint lining.This growth harms the bone next to the joint. The lining also makes extra fluid that can cause swelling and make movement painful. I struggled when I was first diagnosed as I'd always been an active person. I started horse riding at the age of 7 and owned my own pony not long after. I never really just had one either; I had two, three or even four at times. I competed most weekends so most of my school years I would get up early to ride two horses before school, then ride two more after.
When I was first diagnosed and had my first operation, it was so hard being on crutches and having to rest when you're not used to it, but after two months of resting and a further month of physio, it was great to get back in the saddle thinking my knee was fixed. Unfortunately this wasn't the case and six months later my knee was enormous. I was unable to put much weight on it so I was scheduled for another operation. This pretty much became my life; having operations to remove the regrowing lining. As it was growing so quickly each time I had radiation treatment after two of my ops to try to stop this horrible disease!! The radiation did help in slowing down the growths but this disease was destroying my knee joint, so after my sixth operation at the age of 32, the surgeon offered me a total knee replacement. I declined at that point as they couldn't say if the PVNS would still grow and how it would affect the prosthetic joint if it did.
By this stage I had given up horse riding as it was too painful and I was classed as disabled (I struggled to even walk round Asda to do my shopping, had a mobility car and often had to use crutches to help me get around). I had my first son at 33 and being on crutches with a baby is a nightmare, so by the time he was on his feet, I was tired of struggling to keep up with him, popping painkillers to be able to walk. I decided to go for the total knee replacement and in June 2012 ,six weeks before I got married, I had the operation. I worked so hard at physio so I could walk down the aisle and I must say, it was the best thing I did. I was able to hit the dance floor for the full night at my wedding, something I had never done before. I was usually the one sitting down, unable to dance as my knee would be too sore!
The lining did start to regrow 13 months after I had the knee replacement and I found myself under the surgeons knife again, however the recovery was so much quicker this time. I went on to have my second son in 2015, but sadly at my routine 36 week midwife appointment they couldn't find his heart beat. My world was turned upside down and I gave birth to my own precious angel on 20.11.15. He was so perfect, born sleeping due to a true knot in his cord. To help me deal with my grief I started fundraising for a charity called 4louis that provides hospitals with memory boxes for stillbirth, neonatal and infant child loss. You can also donate a cuddle cot in your child's memory; they cost £1500 so I decided to raise funds and donate one to the RVI in my son Corey's memory.
To help raise some of the money I signed myself and my sisters up to the 5k Colour Obstacle Rush in May 2016. Although I did run a bit before it, I didn't run much and I was surprised I was able to run at all with my knee problems. I didn't run the whole 5k as I was 12 weeks pregnant but I completed it and I loved it.
Last year when I watched the Great North Run I decided I would love to give it a go to raise money in memory of Corey. I started running with These Girls Can Run. I'm so pleased I've found this amazing group, I joined 9 weeks after having my beautiful rainbow baby and you have given me the confidence to think I can do it and maybe not walk it all. I can already run over five miles! Thanks for reading my story x