CURRANZ customer Tori Sandilands was featured in the Westmorland Gazette recently after revealing how CurraNZ played its part in helping her recover from a debilitating condition that left her bed-ridden.
In 2015 she discovered CurraNZ when was facing an uphill battle against chronic pain and fatigue after being struck down with a severe neurological condition in her lower back that had affected her for many years.
Tori, 41, was a keen cyclist, horse rider and runner in her youth but the condition curtailed her energetic activities in her early 20s – and left her barely able to walk around the block.
However, the chance recommendation of CurraNZ has seen her now manage the debilitating pain.
She is now back on her bike, has taken up cold water swimming in the Lake District and is scaling rock faces as she looks to make up for lost time.
Tori, from Cumbria, said: “When I was first struck with the pain I could only walk for around 10 to 20 minutes.
“I only just managed to get to work and that was all I could stand really.
“Work became very difficult and made me really tired and sitting down all day was particularly difficult, so keeping a job going took up all my energy.”
After years of going back and forth to the doctors, who could only prescribe her pain medication, in 2012 the financial manager decided to pack up her life in Lincolnshire and move to the picturesque village of Staveley in the Lake District.
With beautiful new surroundings and endless opportunity for outdoor activities, she met her partner, Scott, 43, who as a qualified outdoor instructor, made it his mission to get Tori back fighting fit.
With her doctors unable to pinpoint a cure for her condition, she began to seek alternative options and in 2015 was recommended CurraNZ, a New Zealand blackcurrant supplement, by a friend.
After a few weeks, she began noticing a difference in how she was coping with the pain.
“When I first started taking them I could notice the benefits quite quickly,” said Tori.
“I've always been an active person and I lost myself to chronic pain.
“I was determined to get strong again but was battling fatigue and muscle spasms and CurraNZ took the edge from these issues and enabled me to get out and be who I truly am.”
Five years on, Tori is once again cycling – as well as taking on the new challenges of cold water swimming, rock climbing and paddle boarding.
She said: “I’m really quite active at the moment. It’s quite a difference from where I’ve come from, and just to be able to do all this stuff makes me feel a bit more ‘me’ again.
“The pain can tend to take your personality away from you if you can’t do the things you love and enjoy.
“I haven’t returned to road cycling but I’ve bought a stand-up bike instead because the position suits me more.
“Although, round here in the Lake District it is super hilly so it is really intense to use.”
Now, she has also taken up open water swimming.
“There’s a group of us who go down to the lake and swim two or three times a week in the water and I paddleboard as much as I can.
“I went in for a swim without a wetsuit this year and it was the first time in the winter, so I’m going to keep going with that.
“It’s oddly addictive. Some people think I’m completely crackers and I must admit that when I used to come down and I was in a wetsuit I used to think other people were, but it’s great.
“It’s fantastic for any kind of pain condition anyway, and you can get a real high mentally from doing it, too.”
Over the next year, Tori is hoping to paddleboard the length of as many of the region’s 16 famous lakes as she can.
At Christmas, she completed the largest of them, Windermere, which is a gruelling 10.5 miles long.
Tori added: “With neurology, it’s easy to lose functional strength as it’s hard to keep moving. But it’s so important to be as strong as possible and adapt so you can still do things you love.
“Curranz definitely allows me to have the energy and muscle recovery to train for strength and get out there and adventure. They are part of my essential toolkit.
“In the dark days of pain it was so hard to see past that but now I’m genuinely excited for my future – it feels vibrant and bold.”