Beth French is British woman who became ill with suspected myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) as a child, and is best known as a long-distance swimmer and motivational speaker. French was captain of most of her sports teams when she became ill with ME at age 10. By the age of 17, French found she could not get out of bed one morning, and needed to use a wheelchair for a time.
Uncertainty over diagnosis[edit | edit source]
Beth French first became ill in 1988, at age of just 10 years old, and she spent many of her childhood and teenage years without a diagnosis, and unable to make sense of the illness. She was finally given "a tenuous diagnosis of ME- myalgic encephalomyelitis" after changing to a new doctor at around 17, and she was advised to rest.
Recovery[edit | edit source]
French's illness was most disabling when she was 17, she recovered from ME by age 21, and believes her immune system's reaction to emotional / psychological factors including emotional stress triggered her illness. She was advised to totally rest, did not take part in controversial treatments involving exercise.
Ocean swimming[edit | edit source]
French had fully recovered by age 21; she was able to swim again and studied in Hawaii. She began ocean swimming and has never relapsed. Beth French swam the English Channel in 2012 at which point she had been free of ME symptoms for around 15 years, without any relapses, though continuing to make significant lifestyle adjustments to maintain her health. In 2014, she became the first person to swim from Cornwall, UK, to the Isles of Scilly.
Beth began the Oceans 7 open water swimming challenge in 2016, completing half of the swims within a year.
Against the Tides[edit | edit source]
Fundraising[edit | edit source]
French has raised money for several UK charities, including Action for ME and Level Water, a charity to improve access to swimming for disabled. She crowd-funded to raise money for her ocean swimming.
Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]
- Aug 05, 2014 - Beth French shares her story of recovery - cfsunravelled.com by Dan Neuffer
- Apr 18, 2017 - Beth French: epic ocean swimming with ME - Lessons in Badassery
News coverage[edit | edit source]
- Jul 4, 2017, Beth French abandons Ocean Seven Record Challenge - BBC news
- Jul 24, 2014, Profile: Beth French, swimmer - The Independent
Online presence[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
Learn more[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- French, Beth (January 22, 2014). "ME and the road to recovery". Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- French, Beth. "Beth French - Ocean Swimmer, Inspirational Speaker and Swim Coaching". Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- Munatones, Steven (January 2016). "How Beth French Will Attack The Oceans Seven". Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- BBC news (July 4, 2017). "Beth French abandons Ocean's Seven record challenge". BBC news. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- "Against the Tides (@against_tides) | Twitter". www.twitter.com. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- Grant, Katie (July 24, 2014). "Profile: Beth French, swimmer". The Independent. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.