Natasha Coates, patient

Natasha Coates@NHS from 31/10/16 to 04/11/16

Twitter: @NatashaCoatesGB

Condition: Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Place of treatment: Warrington

I’m not your average 21-year-old. Since developing a rare condition in 2013 I’ve swapped parties, university and a student life for medication, hospitals and a whole different outlook on life.

Up until 2013 I had no significant health issues, then completely out of the blue, I suffered a life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Since then I’ve had to use over 250 epipens, I’ve suffered a few respiratory arrests along the way and really learnt the meaning of living each day as if it was your last.

After over 2 years of tests I was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) which was only recognised in 2007. Mast cells plays an important part in the body’s immune system. The cells are found in your body tissue, surrounding major organs, and when they detect an issue such as an injury or a virus they release specific chemicals depending on the issue.

An allergic reaction is an example of mast cells causing symptoms. For someone with MCAS, the mast cells inappropriately and excessively release these chemical mediators in response to a normal “trigger”. These unwanted chemicals then cause major problems in their own right resulting in reactions, pain and illness including anaphylaxis. The triggers are many and individual. Heat, cold, smells, chemicals, exercise, stress and specific foods are typical. – www.mastcellaction.org

I had been a recreational gymnast from the age of 8 but it was only in 2014 when I switched to disability gymnastics that the sport really changed for me as I entered my first national competition. It can be very difficult to balance gymnastics with my health but my family, friends and coaches at the Wire Gymnastics Club are all really supportive. I split my time between a few different charities including ScopeBirtenshaw school and Mast Cell Action. Last year I was named the Inspiring Young Woman of the Year as well as the Pride of Sport: Disabled Sportsperson of the year. These honours still haven’t sunk in but has allowed me to raise of awareness of MCAS whilst making a positive difference to those around me.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’m going to make the best out of it as much as I possibly can and I’m excited to share my NHS story with you all!

Find out more

  • Visit Natasha’s website.
  • Follow Mast Cell Action on Twitter.
  • Like Tasha’s Truth: Mast Cell Activation Awareness page on Facebook.
  • Like Natasha Coates – Disability Gymnast page on Facebook.