An inspirational woman from St Neots who had nine miscarriages over 14 years has shared her story of never losing hope in her battle with Crohn’s disease.

St Neots? Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn?s disease. Pictured here on a holiday with her friend Sue Hay, who shared her story with The Hunts Post. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots? Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn?s disease. Pictured here on a holiday with her friend Sue Hay, who shared her story with The Hunts Post. Picture: FAMILY

An inspirational woman from St Neots who had nine miscarriages over 14 years has shared her story of never losing hope in her battle with Crohn’s disease.

Frances Hodgson, known as ‘Fran’, has lived in the town for 29 years after originally moving from her hometown of Newcastle.

The 77-year-old recalled how her battle with the lifelong digestive condition led her to have numerous tests, operations and heart-breaking miscarriages.

Fran’s illness began when, aged 21 she was rushed to hospital due to being in intense pain.

St Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here in a baby photo. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here in a baby photo. Picture: FAMILY

“I had no childhood illnesses to speak of apart from tonsillitis,” she said.

“I was in intense pain. Mam had to call the doctor in and he decided I should go to hospital.

“The medical team discovered I had an abscess which had to be drained.

“I was eventually diagnosed with a fistula after many years of suffering – an abnormal connection, usually between two organs, or leading from an internal organ to the body surface.”

St Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured as a little girl. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured as a little girl. Picture: FAMILY

The following year Fran met Dave at a dance hall, who went on to become her husband.

In 1965 she was diagnosed with Crohn’s - but not many people knew what it was.

Fran was put on steroids, but then became pregnant in the summer of that year; her treatment stopped which led to a flare up of the Crohn’s.

She said: “I was rushed to hospital again and they removed 12 inches of bowel and gave me another four pints of blood.

St Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured as a young woman. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured as a young woman. Picture: FAMILY

“I had nine miscarriages between 1965 and 1977.

“When I was in Preston Hospital, North Shields, I was taken to theatre to investigate the reason for my multiple miscarriages.

“However, I was a Sunday School teacher teaching young children from the Dr Barnardo’s home, and this inspired me to adopt a child.”

Fran feared her ill health may prevent her from adopting, but to her amazement her doctor said that his wife also suffered with Crohn’s and they had adopted two children.

St Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here on her wedding day. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here on her wedding day. Picture: FAMILY

Fran’s adoptive daughter Susan was born in September 1970.

But seven years later there was another twist of fate for Fran.

“In 1977 while visiting my Mam in Newcastle, we decided to visit Durham Cathedral and there were 360-odd steps, which of course me being me, I just had to climb them,” she explained.

“Unknown to me I was pregnant with twins at the time, but sadly I lost one of them during the visit.

St Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here with Dave and Susan. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here with Dave and Susan. Picture: FAMILY

“But our Vanessa was born a healthy 7lbs 12ozs in November 1978 in Wakefield by caesarean section.

“Vanessa was seven months old when I then fell pregnant with Michael, who was also a healthy baby at 8lbs, and was also delivered by caesarean section. Both the times I had full-term pregnancies the Crohn’s settled down.

“I felt so proud of myself, I thought ‘I have done it, I’ve achieved my dreams!’

“You never give up hope. You try to live a normal life as best you can. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

St Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here on holiday with her children. Picture: FAMILYSt Neots’ Fran Hodgson who had nine miscarriages shares story of battle with Crohn’s disease. Pictured here on holiday with her children. Picture: FAMILY

“These things are sent to try us and make us a stronger person. You understand better if you’ve suffered.”

But Fran’s ill health didn’t disappear after the birth of her children.

When the family moved to St Neots, she had surgery in the early 90s to drain the abscess she had had since first being diagnosed with Crohn’s in the early 1960s.

Luckily, that took away many unpleasant side effects, which has led Fran to enjoy a healthy and full life.

She has also taken part in a medical research programme at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

She added: “I enjoy holidays in the Caribbean, and also have a full social life, and I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends.

“I am truly grateful for the care and support of my medical team in keeping me healthy and well.”

Fran shared her inspirational story with her friend Sue Hay, who kindly gave this to The Hunts Post.