‘’I am a powerlifter in the Norwegian non-disabled federation; elite class disabled strongman and world record holder."
Karen, living with Alpha-1
I am Karen, and I am 46 years old and an elite disabled athlete. Because of my plasma therapy, I can participate in sports, run a non-profit that works globally to socialise and mobilise people with lung disease, and spread information to the public about lung disease, and Alpha-1 in particular.
My plasma therapy has given me part of my life back, I have slowly but surely over the past six years rehabilitated back to a life in sports, and today I am the first athlete under oxygen therapy with WADA certification for the use of oxygen therapy in competition. I also do obstacle course racing (OCR), and I was the first athlete under oxygen therapy to participate in the OCR world championships. My life in sport is far from over, my goals are high, and I am thrilled to pave the path for those that come after me.
I am a powerlifter in the Norwegian non-disabled federation and a disabled strongman in the elite class with several world records under my belt. Because of my therapy, I can continue my quest to change the Paralympic criteria -- I want children with cystic fibrosis, for instance, to be allowed to have a Paralympic dream, since everyone with lung diseases are currently excluded from parasport.
I am forever grateful that I won in the “postcode lottery” and got my diagnosis in a country that offers treatment. This is also why I work hard for others to get access to treatment. Before my plasma therapy was set in, I fought for my life for over two years -- years that were mostly spent in hospitals and rehabilitation. When I came out in the other end, I had moved and shortly after that I got my diagnosis and all the parts of the big puzzle with my lungs was laid. Though the path back to life was long, already after the first infusion I felt something had changed in my body. Over the next years, I rehabilitated back from not being able to walk and talk to a life in sports.
My life is truly grand, I enjoy it to the fullest and I am grateful for every single good day I get. The plasma therapy is giving me a second chance in life. To live with Alpha-1 and lung disease can be hard and challenging, but with the access to therapy I can live a full life.