Natasha Coates

Natasha has been a gymnast for more than a decade but two years ago, she was repeatedly hospitalised due to a series of anaphylactic reactions.


After a year, her condition was identified as a mast cell disorder. It means that fairly normal things, such as rain, cold or even stress can trigger Natasha, 20, to go into full anaphylaxis. Other times she may break out in hives or have breathing difficulties, and if she gets too hot or overexerts herself too much during exercise, she can go into shock. There is no cure.

But she has continued to compete. She is All Round British Champion for disability gymnastics for the second year running, with 14 British titles to her name. No wonder she picked up the Inspiring Young Woman title at this year’s Inspiring Women Awards (pictured).

But in September she suffered several more allergic reactions, which led to a respiratory arrest. Natasha defied doctors’ predictions that she might not pull through.

She says: “I love being in the arena and showing what disabled gymnasts can do.”

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