A KEEN sportswoman is lucky to be alive after developing a very rare kidney disease, which affects only one in five million people.

Jo Carter, aged 44, is now training for a charity bike ride and dreams of competing in the Brazil Olympics in 2016.

She managed the health club at The Holiday Inn in Runcorn for 16 years and loves sport.

She was diagnosed with Goodpastures Syndrome in February 2011, an auto immune disease in which your own antibodies start to destroy your organs.

Jo said: “I had felt fatigued for about a year beforehand but still tried to maintain my fitness levels by playing squash, golf and cycling.

“This disease can attack your body without you knowing it. They don’t know what causes it but it can be chest infection, which I had very bad 18 months before I became ill.”

Jo underwent two weeks of intensive care at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

She said: “My kidneys were down to only 21 per cent. I was caught in the nick of time.

“They gave me a plasma exchange to save my kidneys and get rid of all the bad antibodies.

“They took all the blood out of my body and replaced it.”

Jo had six months of chemotherapy and relies on drugs for survival.

She has returned to work part-time and now looks after health and safety.

She plans to ride 200km around Cheshire on September 29 and 30, with her husband, Ian, aged 43, and raise £1,500 for Kidney Research UK.

She is also supporting Sudden Arrhymic Death Syndrome UK in memory of her work colleague, night porter, Neil Johnson, aged 30, who died suddenly whilst playing five aside football with his friends in February.

Jo, from Stockton Heath, said: “I am training very hard for my bike challenge.

“I’ve been obsessed with the Olympics. It’s been brilliant and has inspired me to do more.

“I’m trying to get to Rio.”

You can sponsor Jo by visiting www.justgiving.com/teams.joscyclingodyssey