Entries for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k are still open, with limited places remaining. Enter at: Greatrun.org/North10k

A student who was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder will take on a running challenge this year to raise money for the charity that her mum helped found in her name.

Katie Williamson, from Biddick in Washington, was diagnosed with a crippling illness called IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension) which increases pressure around her brain.

Katie, 23, was diagnosed with the condition, which causes a build up of spinal fluid and puts pressure on the brain, which can cause blindness if not treated.

She was diagnosed with the condition when she was just 13-years-old after doctors noticed problems with her eye when she went for tests after experiencing headaches.

The condition means that Katie must rely on medication to control the fluid around her brain to stop it from swelling and causing brain damage.

She suffers from daily headaches and often has a loss of field vision. Because her condition is so rare, Katie struggled to find information or guidance from organisations, which left her feeling very alone.

Her mum Michelle, 52, joined an online forum and which then inspired the group to set up their own charity, IIH UK.

Katie has refused to allow her condition hold her back and has embarked on a number of fundraising challenges for the charity, which is the only one in the country for people with her condition.

This year she will take on the Simplyhealth Great North 10k when it returns to Gateshead on Sunday 9 July.

Katie, who is training to be a teaching assistant, said: “I had no idea what was wrong at first, it was quite a frightening experience to be told that you have a condition that people do not know much about.

“I started to get bad migraines and I suddenly lost some of my eyesight. It has improved now but I had to go through an operation to have something inserted into my brain to drain the fluid that was very painful.

“No one can predict what will happen in the future but I am likely to need further operations and treatment in the future.

“There are days when I cannot get off the sofa because of fatigue but I don’t want to let my condition define me.

“One of the things we found frustrating was that there wasn’t much support or advice from people because the condition was so rare.

“My mum found a forum online which really helped and from there, the members decided to set up IIH UK as a support charity.

“The charity aims to support people in the UK who suffer from the condition and I also help to arrange support group meetings in the area.

“Thankfully I am well at the moment which made me want to put more effort into fundraising and helping my mum with the charity.”

Katie will join 5,000 other runners for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k, which is the North East’s biggest 10k, offers participants a scenic route along the NewcastleGateshead Quayside. Runners pass the likes of Sage Gateshead, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, before heading up to the Gateshead International Stadium and finishing on the iconic track.

The event is also the official training run for the Simplyhealth Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon which takes place in September.

Katie will be taking on the Simplyhealth Great North Run and will use the 10k as a stepping-stone for the half marathon.

She added: “I am very lucky be well at the minute which inspired me to want to raise money for the charity to help people with my condition who suffer every day. I never complain or moan about what I have been through or what I will have to go through in the future because there’s no need to make a huge issue out of something that I cannot control.

“What matters is staying strong and getting on with life and hopefully I’ll be able to make more people aware of the condition."

Support Katie’s fundraising here.

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k are still open, with limited places remaining. Enter at: Greatrun.org/North10k