From wheelchair to the marathon

Michelle Hoffman and Chris Tinsley are running the London Marathon.
Michelle Hoffman and Chris Tinsley are running the London Marathon.

A young Benwick woman who was almost bedridden for a year with crippling arthritis is preparing to take part in the Virgin London Marathon.

Michelle Hoffman (24) has had her life turned around thanks to a new drug treatment called Humira and is running the marathon to raise money for Arthritis Research UK.

Michelle was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis which causes inflammation to the joints in the spine and other areas of the body.

By the time she was 17, Michelle’s hips and back had become extremely painful and inflamed and she struggled to walk. She could not move her neck, often used a wheelchair and needed help with almost every task.

After being almost entirely bedridden for a year, Michelle was prescribed Humira. Just three hours later, Michelle was able to stand unaided for the first time in a year. Within two weeks, she was able to walk again and is now completely pain-free.

She said: “I struggled through my late teens and early twenties with the disease, having to have numerous operations, trying various medications and not being able to walk as my joints were so inflamed that there was minimal movement in them.

“Two years ago, I was prescribed the drug Humira which I have to inject myself with every fortnight. Since then, my condition has improved remarkably.

“From being a keen sportswomen to being in a wheelchair, it was tough. Now, I have my life back and I can continue with the things I love.”

Michelle is doing the marathon with fiancé Chris Tinsley and they are hoping to raise £4,000 for Arthritis Research UK. They have raised just over £1,600 and have been helped with a £200 donation from the local Buffalo group, the Oliver Cromwell Lodge.

To help Michelle and Chris’ fundraising, visit