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Paralympic Champion Rebekah Henshaw Applauds Fellow Athletes for Normalizing Endometriosis

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Paralympic champion Rebekah Henshaw, who recently triumphed in KL2 canoeing at the Tokyo Paralympics, has praised her fellow athletes, Elinor Barker and Elinor Barker, for their role in raising awareness and normalizing the painful condition of endometriosis.

Henshaw, 36, was diagnosed with endometriosis two years ago, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside of the uterus, leading to severe pain and other complications. Upon her diagnosis, Henshaw felt lonely and struggled to find support from individuals who could relate to her experience.

However, Barker, who also suffers from endometriosis, reached out to Henshaw with a phone call before her surgery, providing comfort and understanding. This interaction left a lasting impact on Henshaw and inspired her to speak out about her own diagnosis, hoping to assist others in their journey.

As a recipient of UK Sport‘s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, Henshaw can benefit from full-time training, access to top-tier coaches, and cutting-edge medical support. Her journey in sport began as a swimmer, earning medals at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, before transitioning to canoeing while experiencing symptoms of endometriosis. It took Henshaw nine years to receive a diagnosis, and she is determined to raise awareness and shed light on the challenges faced by those with the condition.

Since her diagnosis, Henshaw has witnessed a shift in the media’s willingness to discuss women’s health, and she is glad to have played a part in breaking the silence. She believes that there is still much progress to be made, and hopes that her openness will lead to more honest conversations about endometriosis, both within and outside the realm of sports.

Looking forward, Henshaw aims to use her platform and story to inspire others to engage in sports and physical activities. With the upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympics, she wants to motivate people from all communities to participate and experience the transformative power of sports.

As for her own sporting career, Henshaw achieved her ultimate dream by winning gold in Tokyo. Returning from the Games, she reflected on her motivations and found a new drive to push herself and elevate para canoeing.

Henshaw recently switched coaches and is now working with Hannah Brown, a former paddler herself. The transition has brought fresh perspectives and ideas to Henshaw’s training, and she is excited to see the results of their collaboration in Paris.

Rebekah Henshaw’s success and advocacy bring attention not only to her incredible athletic achievements but also to the importance of discussing and supporting those facing endometriosis. Through her courage, Henshaw aims to leave a lasting impact on the sport and help others facing similar challenges.

Rachel Adams

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