Tori Loze will be competing in her first Half Ironman this month, overcoming three autoimmune diseases and a blood clot on her lungs.

A Bideford woman has overcome a serious illness to train for a gruelling Half Ironman.

Victoria Loze, from Bideford, had to battle many ‘dark times’ after battling a number of autoimmune diseases.

The 34-year-old, known as Tori, collapsed due to a blood clot on her lungs in 2010.

She was on blood thinners for a year and will have to be on medication for the rest of her life.

In the same year, she was also also diagnosed with a number of autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself, she was later diagnosed with the markers for Lupus, Sjogrens syndrome and Raynaud’s.

Tori had to undergo two operations to remove clots in her saliva glands, and lost a significant amount of weight which had a profound effect on her health and confidence.

But, determined to overcome her health issues, Tori joined a fitness boot cap in 2014 to help restore her confidence.

The next year she joined the 1610 Torridge Pool in Northam and signed up for a number of fitness classes.

She said: “Whilst I will never be without the problems associated with the autoimmune diseases, it is through the support, motivation, inspiration and my desire to fight that I now find myself actually competing in events rather than fighting against my body.

“I know that without the help of 1610 and the friends I have made through the gym the picture I face would be very different.”

Motivated by the support behind her, Tori took on the Bideford half marathon, and last year entered her first triathlon.

She was inspired by her friend Louise Harris, who reached the World Ironman finals at Kona in Hawaii, to take on her next challenge.

Tori has signed up for the Nottingham Half Ironman later this month, and is currently training hard for the event.

She added: “I have now started attending the swimming training in the pool along with the classes with 1610 fitness trainer Sonia.

“I know that the gym staff and the friends I have made will be there supporting me all the way.

“1610 has enabled me to reach new goals and set new targets.”