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Talk to the Press client appears on This Morning to raise awareness over lipoedema which has caused her legs to balloon to 10 stone. Would you like to share your story with This Morning?

Earlier this month, Claire Tickle’s story appeared in The Sun newspaper which sparked a number of TV shows and magazines to ask for a follow up chat with her. Last Wednesday, Claire appeared on This Morning and spoke to TV hosts Philip Schofield and Amanda Holden about her debilitating condition and how it has impacted on every aspect of her life.

legs1Poor 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. After 16 years of coping with the pain and inconvenience of having legs that weighed 10 STONE, Claire was finally diagnosed with stage 3 lipoedema, known as the ‘painful fat syndrome’.

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.

legs3As 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.”

Claire’s story will be appearing in two women’s magazines shortly. If you’d like to share your story, please fill out the form on the right hand side or email message@talktothepress.com

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