When I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease in January 2020, I initially struggled to do anything.

I had been fit and healthy, going to the gym at least three times a week. However, after my diagnosis, I struggled to get through a full day at work as a teacher without feeling like I was about to collapse or that my heart would explode.

At that point, I didn't really know what my thyroid even was. 

That's where the British Thyroid Foundation came in. Throughout my diagnosis and treatment, I used the website to help inform all of my decisions and when I had to make a decision about definitive treatment for my Graves' disease, I knew I was making an informed choice. 

In January 2022, I underwent radioactive iodine treatment and, with careful tweaks to my thyroxine levels, started to feel more like myself than I had felt in two years. That's when I made the decision to do the Great North Run. 

Although I had made a return to the gym since diagnosis, I have NEVER been a runner. Training was incredibly hard but I was lucky to have my fiance, Dan, to force me out for a run even when I didn't feel like going.

The day came around and I was thankful for all of my training. I finished the run in 2:14:15 - a time that 2020 Rachael would have never felt was achievable!

In total I raised £531 for the BTF. I'm so glad that they will be able to use this to help other people, like me, who receive a diagnosis out of the blue.