A YEAR ago the fatigue and excruciating pain caused by her condition would have rendered her unable to walk just 100 yards.
But yesterday Portsmouth-born Louise Ballard showed endometriosis who was boss – as she completed a trek of almost 130 miles from Abergavenny, Wales to Gunwharf Quays.
She took on the feat over four days in a bid to raise the profile of the condition, which causes uterus-lining tissue, endometrium, to grow outside the uterus – often on other pelvic organs.
The 44-year-old, who had keyhole surgery to remove stage-four umbilical endometriosis last year, also raised £1,950 to share between charities Mind and Endometriosis UK.
‘I love Portsmouth but I think today I love it more than ever – seeing the sign and knowing I was nearly home was amazing,' said Louise, who is from Copnor but now lives in Wales.
‘I’m exhausted and I don't think I’m ever going to do anything like this ever again, but I set out to raise awareness and raise money and I’ve done that.
‘The endometriosis will most probably be back, there’s no cure at the moment, so I know in a year’s time I may not be able to do this again.
‘I grabbed the opportunity while I can and I’m thrilled I’ve made it.’
Louise, a private English and maths tutor, was met by a cluster of cheering friends and family as she concluded her walk just after 5pm.
Few could have been more in awe of what she achieved than her partner, Keith Hinchliffe.
‘The pain Louise went through with endometriosis was daily and it completely stopped her life,’ the 49-year-old said.
‘So to see her do this is remarkable and I am amazingly proud of her.’
Rain poured as Louise got into Portsmouth but long-time friend, Carly Thomasin-Foster, said her will to march unfazed on was ‘testament to her character’.
The 39-year-old said: ‘She’s such an inspirational lady and I am immensely proud of her.'
Louise’s dad Barry, 75, added: ‘She was utterly determined and we are so proud.’
People in Portsmouth with endometriosis can access the Endo Support Group at Tesco Fratton’s community room from midday until 2pm on the first Saturday of every month.
To donate to Louise’s walking fund for Endometriosis UK and Mind, or learn more visit her website at my1234.uk