By day, she is a senior physiotherapist at King’s Mill Hospital. But during her spare time, she is a superhero and soon-to-be TV star, raising money to fight a painful disease.
That’s 28-year-old Lizzie Smith, of Forest Town, a tireless supporter of a charity helping to develop research into a cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Lizzie, who suffers herself from Crohn’s Disease, a chronic form of IBD, has already generated £1,300 after completing a ten-kilometre run every month this year, as well as taking part in seven muddy obstacle-course races.
For each of the challenges, she has been dressed as a super hero. And now she is taking her adventures to a new level by appearing on the popular ITV assault-course game show, ‘Ninja Warrior UK’, a new series of which starts on New Year’s Eve. Dressed as Wonder Woman, she hopes to raise awareness of Crohn’s and how it impacts people’s lives.
Lizzie’s various costumes have camouflaged considerable pain. For remarkably, she has tackled all her runs and obstacles while receiving ongoing treatment, including infusions which are seen as a last resort before surgery.
“It has been quite a challenge, working in a hospital and training for these events,” she admitted. “But I am a massive superhero geek, and I am determined to raise money and awareness for a disease that currently has no cure, but affects so many people.
“I want to inspire and empower to show that obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t give up. Figure out how to climb it or smash it!”
Intrepid Lizzie also plans to compete at the European Obstacle Course Championships in 2017, and has been nominated for awards.
Lizzie is a member of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Super Heroes, a support group for the Cure Crohn’s Colitis charity, whose sole objective is to raise money to find a cure for the disease.
One in 400 people is affected by Crohn’s Disease, a chronic form of IBD, and up to 8,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. It can affect any part of the gastro-intestinal tract (from mouth to rectum) and can cause inflammation of the skin, joints and even eyes.
Since she was first diagnosed at the age of 14, Lizzie has had to endure not only the pain caused by Crohn’s but also a major operation, liquid diets for up to six months, relapses and frequent visits to hospital. But she has developed admirable resilience and has learned to manage and live with the disease thanks to a positive and confident philosophy.
To support her by giving a donation, go to her online fundraising page at JustGiving,