Do you suffer from a rare condition that is preventing you from finding love, or that you’d like to raise awareness about? Claire Tickle’s shared her story with Talk to the Press which appeared in yesterday’s The Sun
When Claire Tickle contacted us with her story we knew a number of publications would be interested in speaking to her. Poor Claire, now 38, was just 16 when her legs ballooned to twice their normal size. Doctors told her she was fat and needed to lose weight, but no matter what she ate, her legs kept on growing.
The genetic disease meant Claire had a second layer of lipoedemic fat growing over the top of her normal fat layer. There is no cure for this agonising condition and it is now even beginning to affect the foster carer’s arms. It has even stopped her from finding romance and she hasn’t been on a date for FIVE years.
She says: “After I separated from Alfie’s father in 1999, I had a few dates but then I gave up on men. I was getting messed around and I am really conscious of my condition and find it really hard to have to tell people. I hate my legs. I worry constantly what people think.”
Her ‘tree trunk’ legs cause her so much pain she can’t run around with her 6-year-old son Alfie, has to avoid him jumping on her lap and she can’t even go on a bike ride with him.
Since joining a weight loss group 15 weeks ago, Claire has shed 3 stone. But all the weight has come from her face and chest, and her legs have stayed the same. Clothes shopping is an absolute nightmare for the single mother as she wears an 18 on top and a 24 in trousers to fit her gigantic legs.
As well as coping with the agony and having to sacrifice activities with her son, Claire admits strangers have been nasty and often give her judging looks. She says: “People look at me and immediately assume I have a weight problem, but there’s nothing I can do. If only someone had diagnosed me at 16, this could have bene prevented and controlled. I try not to let my disease get in the way of my son’s life, but the truth is I will never be able to chase after him in the park. I can’t go for bike rides with him or let him jump up and down on me. I would love to be a normal mother.”
As there is no cure for the bizarre condition, all Claire can do to try and keep her swelling legs under control is wear compression stockings – which she says are ‘very unattractive’. What’s more, the extra ten stone has had an effect on her bones and at just 38 she has the early onset of osteoporosis.
But doctors have suggested swimming as an activity that Claire and Alfie can do together. She says: “Swimming gives me a new lease of life and means I can play with my son at last. I don’t care about getting into a bikini, it’s worth it to be a normal mother.”
We placed Claire’s story with The Sun and are now in the process of securing her a TV and magazine deal. If you’d like to share your story, please fill out the form on the right hand side or email [email protected]