Karen's fought a rare chromosome disorder from birth, often been critically ill and has undergone over eighty operations.
Emergency hospital admissions with Addison's Crisis and brushes with death were frequent; Karen remained cheerful and hopeful.
Chance encounters with a friends assistance dog led her to believe the dog knew when she was unwell even before she knew.
Karen searched for help; eventually Medical Detection Dogs agreed to research, with the possibility of training an alert dog.
Karen now has the first Addison's Disease alert dog in the world; tirelessly fundraises, works raising awareness of Addison's Disease and helping others who have assistance dogs themselves. She attends events such as Crufts and major dog events to help promote the charity and also raise awareness, she has even been to the European Parliament to speak on this topic at European Pet Night.
From a lifetime of poor medical outlook and uncertainty, Karen is now a bubbly, vivacious, inspiring person. It's like Coco has given her a new lease of life, everyone comments upon it, and even her medical team fully support the fact that she literally has a lifesaving dog.
Karen exhibits all the characteristics of a steeplechaser, reliable, dependable, overcomes whatever obstacles occur and will go the distance no matter what.
There's nobody better to carry the Olympic torch and show that whatever challenges one in life, there are still opportunities to strive, succeed and inspire others.