A woman who was warned by doctors that her incurable disease would confine her to a wheelchair for the rest of her days is aiming to prove her medical team wrong by running this weekend's Dublin Marathon.
Anais Maniere, a Dublin-based nurse, was diagnosed last year with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a little-known rheumatological condition that leaves sufferers with constant pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. In the case of Maniere, the symptoms were at one stage so severe that everyday actions like walking, dressing, driving, and sleeping became extremely challenging. And doctors warned the 28-year-old to expect things to go from bad to worse, telling her she would be in a wheelchair in her thirties.
However, determined Anais, whose courage has earned her a prestigious Lord Mayor's medal nomination, has vowed to push herself through the pain barrier this weekend and not only complete the Dublin Marathon, but run the entire, grueling course. She said, "I've suffered from pains since when I was a child, but it wasn't until January of last year when I was diagnosed, and at the beginning of this year things got really bad, and it was hard for me to walk, stand up or even be static.
"I was also told by a doctor at the time that I'd be in a wheelchair in my thirties, and that was horrible to hear. It upset me, but I'm determined to prove that doctor wrong. "In February I started a new treatment and things have improved. Although this condition can't be cured, it's about controlling the pain and learning to live as normal a life as possible."
Although Maniere, originally from Brittany in France, has completed two previous marathons before, this will be her first in Ireland and the most challenging yet.
She explained, "This marathon will be the hardest of the three, because of the back pain I am likely to get. But I've trained hard, and my aim is to run at least 20k of it, but hopefully all of it.
"Not many people know about this condition, but there's a lot of people out there suffering from it. So this is an opportunity for me to spread the word about it. Whatever it takes I will finish the marathon next Sunday."
Over 20,000 participants will take part in Sunday's SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon.
Best of luck, Anais!