A VETERAN who was medically discharged from the Army because of an unusual condition that causes her body to go into shock when her heart rate rises is now helping others overcome injury.
Katrina Bolton, 34, from Catterick Village, joined the Royal Medical Corps in 1998 as a combat medical technician and left the Army in 2013 after she was diagnosed with variant exercise-induced anaphylaxis in 2005, primarily brought about as the body’s core temperature increases.
Her condition deteriorated so much she had to be medically discharged as she could not deploy, and now has to carry an EpiPen.
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But now Mrs Bolton helps other veterans by urging them to join Help For Heroes support group Band of Brothers as part of her job at Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick Garrison.
She is also starting to overcome her condition by taking part in sports activities now she is on the correct medication.
She said: “The condition means that physical exercise can trigger a reaction.
“I kept getting more and more severe reactions which brought on a rash, swollen lips and difficulty breathing.”
Mrs Bolton is support hub co-ordinator at Phoenix House, which offers support to those who have suffered life changing injuries and illnesses.
“I always encourage veterans to join Band of Brothers,” she said.
“If you have a stumbling block, you can ask somebody else how they got round it. Band of Brothers has a private Facebook page, where you can go and ask for advice.”
Mrs Bolton’s Army career began in 1998 with 5 Medical Regiment in Preston and she has served in Bosnia, Iraq, Jordan, and Northern Ireland, where she suffered her first anaphylactic shock during a combat fitness test.
She said: “People open up when they know I was also medically discharged.
“My job is to look after veterans, families and children who need support and to point them in the right direction.
“I love listening to veterans’ stories and being a part of helping somebody. Someone comes in feeling nervous but I have the banter there because I have the Army lingo.
“And now I have the correct medication I have the freedom to exercise back.”
To find out more about Band of Brothers email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The Northern Echo has launched an appeal to raise £100,000 for Phoenix House. To contribute, fill in the donation form, complete and send to Phoenix House with a cheque made out to Help For Heroes.
The form is necessary to ensure the money is directed to Phoenix House and should be sent to Help For Heroes, Northern Echo Appeal, Phoenix House Recovery Centre, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, DL9 3AW.