A chat with Welsh Player, Aimee Moran:
Words: Natasha Cutter
Today is World IBD Day, so we stopped to chat to Welsh player Aimee Moran.
Aimee has been playing for Wales since she was a junior, but over the last few years she’s had to tackle a debilitating case of colitis. Over 1 in 123 people in the UK live with some form of IBD, but very little is known about either disease. You can be of any age, race, gender – but we do not know what causes it. Presently, there is no cure.
Aimee has a long history with badminton – in 2014 she was awarded her first Welsh senior cap at the European Women’s Team Championships, and in 2016 went on to win gold in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, Aimee picked up a shoulder injury over this period of time that resulted in an operation in 2018.
In June 2019, Aimee was able to return to play. By December Aimee was struggling with the initial onset of colitis. Despite a month of agony, Aimee wasn’t diagnosed until January 2020. Within seven months of this diagnosis, Aimee had had her bowel removed. During these months, Aimee had been through weeks of hospital stays, IV steroids, tablet steroids, blood and iron transfusions, and infusions. For a while these infusions worked. But when Aimee was weaned off her steroids, all of her initial symptoms came back – She was back to her life being owned by the illness, being unable to go more than a room away from the bathroom, being unable to sleep or eat due to the constant internal pain.
All of this was going on when the UK was in the throes of Covid, and Aimee was completely immunosuppressed. She and her family had been shielding entirely – for four months, Aimee had seen no one outside of her mum and step-dad. Going to hospital was no light decision.
But there was nothing for it – Aimee was at risk of her bowel becoming lethally perforated. On the Monday she went into hospital, on the Thursday she saw her surgeon, and by the next Monday she was recovering from surgery. Aimee woke up from surgery and realised that all of her internal pain – that had stolen her life entirely for a year – was gone.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. Aimee went into her illness as a highly active athlete. By 2020, her leg muscles had atrophied, and her fitness disappeared. We asked what had given Aimee the determination to come through such a horrendous ordeal – She said that all she wanted was to get back to her life, that she was so fed up with the disease having won.
In 2021, Aimee was on the podium at the Welsh Nationals in Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Aimee then did the same in 2022.
We asked Aimee what she wished more people knew about IBD – Aimee said that she would love to see a raised awareness of how debilitating these illnesses can be, that it isn’t just a sore stomach. That awareness was raised for how traumatic it can be – that even with the surgery, you don’t get better. Aimee is now living with chronic fatigue, and always will. Those with IBD must constantly monitor their health, and knowing your limitations is far harder.
We then asked Aimee what she would tell the younger her, the one who had just been diagnosed.
Aimee said, “That there is light at the end. Don’t think it’s the end of the world. Have the surgery that will save your life.”
Aimee is now back at work, back to training, and working to break down the stigma around this illness. We can’t wait to see her on court again soon.
The Badminton Wales team will be fundraising for research into IBD over our upcoming AirBadminton events and our Summer tournaments. If you would like to get involved, or for more information, contact Tasha on email@example.com