This Gosport 24-year-old is proving her arthritis can't hold her back by taking 150,000 steps in April for Versus Arthritis charity

AGED just seven, Molly Francis started to notice pain in her hands - and now lives with rheumatoid arthritis in her hands, back, hips and knees.

By Belinda Dickins
Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 3:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 3:58 pm
Molly Francis, 24 from Gosport, is walking 150,000 steps in 30 days for Versus Arthritis
Molly Francis, 24 from Gosport, is walking 150,000 steps in 30 days for Versus Arthritis

Molly, 24, is raising funds and awareness for charity Versus Arthritis by challenging herself to take on 150,000 steps in April.

The Gosport resident spent years going back and forth to appointments at Queen Alexandra Hospital, and had to take a year out of dancing due to the pain and discomfort caused by discs out of place in her spine.

Molly experiences pain in her joints, especially during the cold winter months, and has tried various forms of physical therapy and pain relief to try to reduce the discomfort.

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She said: ‘When I tell people, they say “my nan or grandad has that”. I have not come across anyone my age with arthritis.

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‘Whatever I do causes me pain. It’s got to the point now where I have learned to live with the pain.

‘I think with everything I have tried that hasn’t worked, I have had no opportunity but to deal with it. It’s something I will have for the rest of my life.

‘After signing up to Versus Arthritis and following them on their Facebook page, there are quite a few people in their early 30s but I haven’t seen any my age.’

Molly has to be more careful than most people her age, because any injuries or twisting to her back can exacerbate the pain.

The upcoming challenge will see her having to complete an average of 5,000 steps per day.

HR administrator Molly said: ‘The whole point of it is that for someone with arthritis, it’s a lot.

‘This is to show that people with arthritis can do it. I have been practising to get my body used to it and I haven’t been in too much pain.

‘Earlier in the year, me and my sister did 10,000 steps in one day. My hips were quite sore but it’s nothing a hot bath can’t help with.

‘I want to give thanks to my family and partner because they're the ones that have to put up with me!’

A target of £250 was set by Molly, but she has already collected more than £400 before the challenge has even begun.

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