AN ELITE athlete with a rare blood condition is leading the way to inspire others with blood disorders.

Commonwealth gold medalist, Alex Dowsett, 28, of Badden Powell Close, Great Baddow, lives with haemophilia, a condition that means without medication his blood does not clot which can cause serious problems if he injuries himself.

The Movistar cyclist is setting up his own charity, Little Bleeders, to show other people with the condition that they can live a normal life as he does and reach their dreams and goals.

At a very young age Alex's parents became concerned as he would bruise very easily and following blood tests he was diagnosed with the condition.

He said: "I once cut my lip after a fall and the cut bleed very heavily and so my parents made sure I had all the tests and I was diagnosed.

"I have to inject myself every two days with medication to help my blood clot but as I was doing this from a young age now it is just part of my daily routine.

"I had to sit out of most contact sports as a youngster because of the condition but my parents encouraged me to take up swimming.

"I then began cycling and it just went from there really."

Alex is keen to show people that having haemophilia does not stop people reaching their potential as he was able to continue his love of sports and certainly has not let his condition get in the way of his successful career.

He wants to show parents of young haemophiliacs that they should encourage physical activity as much as possible as it help build strength and promotes healing.

There are different severities of the condition including mild, moderate and severe.

Mr Dowsett added: "As the only elite athlete with the blood condition, I feel a responsibility to support others with the condition but also to help the next generation of people with the condition as I will definitely not be the last athlete with haemophilia.

"We also want to support people with the condition in third world countries as the medication is expensive and while it may be life-shortening it is not life-threatening with the right medication.

"We are also working with other athletes with the condition to help give that inspiration to show people how it doesn't have to hold people back and we hope to be sharing these stories."

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