Woman who could hardly breathe signs up for 100km cycle

Jan Maddern
Jan Maddern

A few years ago, Hemel Hempstead woman Jan Maddern could barely climb the stairs without collapsing from shortness of breath.

On May 27, at the age of 55, she will be cycling 100km to raise money for Women V Cancer Ride the Night.

In 2009, Jan was diagnosed with idiopathic subglottic stenosis, a very rare condition that leaves patients unable to breathe due to a narrowing of the windpipe.

Jan, a Scout leader, shop owner and district and parish councillor, was referred to London specialist Guri Sandhu, who found the condition was narrowing her windpipe to 4mm.

After Jan had undergone seven temporary treatments using a balloon to enlarge her throat, Guri had an idea for a pioneering new procedure that could cure her.

It involved inserting a piece of plastic tubing wrapped in skin from her leg.

The Maddern procedure is now being taught all over the world.

At around the time of her treatment, Jan’s friend Debz sadly died from breast cancer, and Jan has decided to tackle Women V Cancer Ride the Night in her memory.

The largest women’s cycling event in the UK will see over 3,000 women cycling in aid of three cancer charities.

Jan, said: “Not only will I get to raise money for three incredible charities, but I will also be proving to myself that I can do it.

“From barely being able to breathe to achieving 100km with so many incredible people around me – it’s going to be amazing.”