Cork Independent feature Blarney woman Angela and her ‘Lyon’ heart

Reporter Robert Nodwell featured brave Blarney woman Angela Lyon in last week’s Cork Independent… A Blarney woman battling a chronic illness managed to scoop two titles at the Munster Dressage Championships. Despite struggling to walk at times after being struck down with rheumatoid arthritis, Angela Lyons, who was diagnosed with the illness three years ago, won her two titles on 24 July at the Midleton equestrian event. The 11-time national dressage champion thought that she would never be able to compete at any level again. Angela told the Cork Independent: “I got diagnosed three years ago, at the beginning it was hard for them to diagnose it. I couldn’t walk, my muscles had deteriorated massively, it was really bad. It can affect any part of the body as well, so it negatively affected my elbows, my joints, my tendons and even my eyes and lungs were affected too. “It took a while to find out what it was initially and then they started me off on what was a lower dose of chemotherapy. I couldn’t move some days I was so sick. After that, I was injecting myself once a week with another drug. It’s a chronic disease, so I was keeping it under control. “Then at times things might flare up so you might have to get an anti-inflammatory, the flare could last for two days or it could last up to two weeks,” she added. After a horrific slog to get back to any form of competitiveness, Angela won her two titles on the 24 July down in Midleton, despite a daily struggle to manage her condition. With the national championships set to take place in Gorey in County Wexford at the end of the month, Lyons could yet write more history but she is just glad to be part of it again. “The Munster championships mean so much,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to do this again and it was breaking my heart. Even when I started back, I couldn’t do what I used to do, my balance wasn’t as good as it used to be. I was nervous and wasn’t as secure as I used to be. “I just had to take my time with everything, even though I always set myself goals as well. I think that’s an extremely important part of it, to always set goals and to always have something in mind that you want to achieve. It took a lot of willpower, every day. “Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other caused pain, I had to dig deep. My competitive past helped me, you’re always pushing yourself and trying to do better. If I didn’t have a goal, I’d find it hard to keep going,” she said.”angela IMG_4515