Posted on: 24/07/2018

Imran was diagnosed with leprosy in the UK. He has now been cured and is taking on the Prudential Ride 100, a 100 mile cycling event - to help beat leprosy. 

Imran has told us more about how he felt being diagnosed with leprosy, and why he is raising money for people affected.

How old were you when you were first diagnosed with leprosy?

I was 22 when I was first diagnosed in the UK.  

What were your symptoms?

I couldn’t feel my feet, but I carried on living my life as normal. One day, I burned myself without realising when I was sitting with my leg on a hot radiator – but, I didn’t feel it. I decided to go to the doctors because I was very worried. I developed discoloured patches on my leg, back and ear – they were all numb and discoloured.

How long did it take to get diagnosed?

It look four and a half years to get diagnosed. I had to keep going to appointments, but nobody seemed to know what it was. I was referred to neurologists and for biopsies, which were very painful. Then one doctor suspected leprosy and I was referred to Dr Diana Lockwood, the UK-leprosy specialist. Dr Lockwood was very helpful and she told me I would be cured. I had never heard of leprosy before. When I saw pictures of the disease, it made me feel very worried and concerned. I feared that I would become disabled by the disease.

How has leprosy impacted your life?

I was living a normal life, but then I experienced reactions to the treatment. I confined myself to my home because of the pain, which lasted for almost three years. I had to stop going to college, where I was studying to become an accountant, because the pain was too much.

I’ve also experienced terrible stigma. My marriage was called off and my family told me not to go near other people because they were worried I would spread the disease.

Why are you cycling the Ride 100 and raising money for Lepra?

I started cycling last year and I wanted to fundraise for Lepra, but there was no space left on the Ride 100. This year I am fully prepared and ready for the ride. I want to fundraise for Lepra because I can relate to the pain and discrimination people go through and I want to give something back.

We want to say a big thank you to Imran for being a fundraising hero, cycling and raising money to help transform lives! 

Inspired to take on the challenge?

Do you think you have what it takes to cycle the Ride 100 in 2019? Register your interest today to cycle with Team Lepra next year.

Register your interest today

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