Inspire, Believe, Succeed

Natasha Coates, British Disability Gymnastics Champion visited Birtenshaw on 17 March 2016.Natasha Coates 2

Natasha is 21. When she was 18 she was diagnosed with a rare condition affecting Mast Cells which means that she has severe allergic reactions to many things including exercise!  The reactions are so severe that they can be life threatening and Natasha has spent a lot of time in hospital since her diagnosis.

On receiving the diagnosis, she was determined that her illness would not prevent her from continuing with her lifelong love of gymnastics  So determined is she that since her diagnosis she has won 14 British Championship Gold medals – an amazing achievement!

Natasha visited Birtenshaw School, College, Gym and one of our children’s homes to see how disabled children and young adults are supported by Birtenshaw.  Chatting to her throughout the day, she casually shared information about her life and how she manages her condition.  Her positivity and determination to remain upbeat as well as her drive to achieve were inspiring. One of our pupils, who has cerebral palsy spoke to Natasha about her frustrations about not being able to do some of the things that other pupils can do.  She asked Natasha how she dealt with frustration.  Natasha explained that she focuses on all the things she can do so that the things she struggles with become less important.

Natasha Coates

During the afternoon, Natasha showed pupils her medals and her Pride of Sport Trophy. She also gave us a demonstration of some of her floor skills which were definitely impressive!  She recognised particular talents in some of our pupils which may mean that in the future she has competition!

Overcoming illness and injury, Natasha will be participating in the British Championships next month.  We wish her every success and hope that she will be able to visit us again soon with more medals proving that achievement is about dedication, belief and pursuing your dreams.

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