Tasha Coates
2015 Inspiring Young Woman Winner

The Gymnast allergic to exercise.

Imagine your world being turned completely upside down in one day. Imagine if everything you touch, smell or ate could potentially kill you, even a kiss from a loved one or a hug from a friend. A condition so cruel you can’t cry, because if you did, you would have an allergic reaction to the water rolling down your cheeks. This is Natasha’s life.

Two years ago, at the age of 18 Natasha left the house as usual, but on this day she went into a life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Her lips went blue, her airway swelled, she couldn’t breathe and she lost consciousness. She recovered, only for it to happen again two days later. At one point she had 8 reactions in 2 weeks, and no-one knew why this was happening. Natasha’s hair began to falling out, but even during this hard time she was still thinking of others. She shaved the rest of her hair off and donated it to the The Little Princess Trust which is a charity that provides real hair wigs to children who have sadly lost their own hair through cancer treatment.

On the 29th of April 2014 she suffered a reaction so severe she suffered a respiratory arrest. She stopped breathing.

For most, being told you’re allergic to exercise would be the perfect excuse to head for the sofa and stay there, but not Natasha. Natasha’s passion is gymnastics. Despite her condition, she continues to train as a gymnast and coach others, even though she knows this could fatal. With no feeling below her knees and elbows, Natasha only knows she has caught the bars when the drag of her body weight tells her. With the beam she cannot feel it beneath her feet. On the Floor she has to guess when her feet have ‘pushed off’.

Two years later in November 2014, she won a Bronze for the Beam, Silver for Floor and two golds for Uneven Bar and Vault at the British Disability Gymnastic National games. Topping this off in 2015 at the British Disability Gymnastic Championships with 7 Golds; Silver and Bronze medals and the cup for Overall Highest Scoring female Gymnast of the Competition.