Race Across the World’s James in tears as sister Betty shares heartbreaking health struggle

Virgin Radio

23 May 2024, 07:14

Credit: BBC

The latest episode of Race Across the World saw siblings Betty and James share an incredibly emotional moment, which left the latter needing a hug from the cameraman.

On Wednesday’s (22nd May) instalment, Betty opened up to brother James about her heartbreaking health struggle, causing the latter to cry at his sister’s bravery. 

The penultimate leg of the race saw the four teams travel from Bukittinggi in Indonesia to the seventh checkpoint, and the country’s capital, Jakarta. In the coal mining town of Muara Enim in South Sumatra, Betty and James headed to a local park to talk about their journey so far, during which Betty opened up about her struggles with her health and fertility after she was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome at the age of 16. 



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She explained: “It means that I don’t have a uterus, I don’t have a womb and I only have one kidney as well. I think as a young woman, you’re told you’re going to marry, you’re going to have a family, and from a young age when that’s taken away from you, it does put doubts in your mind. Doubts in your purpose as a person, I suppose.”

She added: “I think on the journey we have learnt that speaking to each other is actually not that scary.”

James agreed, saying: “And it helps, quite a lot and now we could easily pick up the phone to one another and talk about whatever.”

Betty emotionally added: “Yes, it’s definitely helped. Probably over the last two legs I think my frustrations and down moments have come periodically. I want to be resilient; I want to be brave. But my condition, I do believe that it has made me have this mindset of just being negative and not really liking the person I am.”

James then comforted his sister and admitted that he forgets that she can’t have children. Betty said: “Me and you have never even had a conversation about it have we? It’s definitely made me develop, I think, a lot of the negative attributes that I have like overthinking and wanting to feel in control, because I just feel like at 16 something was taken away from me that I couldn’t control. So, when you’ve been saying ‘everything happens for a reason,’ I can’t believe that.”

The pair shared a hug, with James saying: “That makes more sense now. I get that my philosophy is ‘everything happens for a reason’, but to you, obviously not. And that being positive is not always the best way to deal with things.”

Later James reflected: “To hear that was tough. It was the first time we’ve talked about it, and I have heard it from Betty herself and it’s only now that I realise how much it does affect her and… Excuse me, there’s a frog in my throat.”

With James in tears and requesting a hug, one of the production team steps in to comfort him.

Fans took to social media to react to the heartbreaking moment. One wrote: “Crikey, Race across the World has got me in tears again.”

Another added: “Poor girl; wife and I in tears for her. Betty and James are both such lovely people.”

Someone else wrote: “Betty is such a wonderful person. Such honesty. James a lovely soul.  My favourites.”

Race Across the World continues Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.