A ST Ives swimmer with severe asthma is aiming to take part in the London Marathon next year.

Cathy Thomson, 21, is on daily medication to control her asthma and uses an inhaler every day. Her asthma is so bad it has left doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge baffled - but Cathy is determined it will not prevent her from fulfilling a lifelong dream.

She said: "For the past four years I have been working as a teaching assistant in a school for children with special needs but I have gone back to university so that I can become a teacher.

"I got to know a little girl called Chelsey but she died at the start of the year. She has been my inspiration - she inspired me to go back to university and has inspired me to do the London Marathon.

"She had cerebral palsy and a degenerative lung disease. I looked after her at home as well as at school. We just had a massive connection."

Cathy has been a member of St Ives Swimming Club for three years.

"I have always wanted to do the London Marathon. I have decided to raise money for the hospice where Chelsey died because they did so much for her and her family.

"I swim regularly so my fitness is quite good but I am on a daily routine of medication, which I take every morning and night, to try and control my asthma although I do struggle with it. Every two to three months I will have a serious attack which means I need an overnight stay in hospital. I'm under the care of Addenbrooke's Hospital but I'm a bit of a medical mystery. They think I have four types of asthma: allergen-induced, infection-induced, exercise-induced and non-allergen induced asthma so it is difficult to control."

Cathy was diagnosed with asthma when she was just five weeks old but is hoping the condition will not affect her dream.

She said: "I'm going to discuss it properly with my doctors at my next appointment but I think they are more worried about the training - in case I have a serious attack while I am out on my own."

Cathy, who lives in Wicken near Ely, is currently studying for a degree in disability studies at Bedford University, which she hopes to convert into a teaching degree.

INFORMATION: To donate to Cathy's fundraising efforts go to www.justgiving.com/cathy-thomson