Enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k at: Greatrun.org/Bristol10k

A mum who became wheelchair bound after being diagnosed with a neurological condition is determined to raise awareness about her condition by taking on a 10k event this year.

Lucy Skinner, from Bedminster in Bristol, was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) in November 2015, which left her completely unable to use her arms and the use of one foot.

The condition is a neurological disorder, which causes severe weakness and stroke-like symptoms.

The greatest chance for treatment occurs within the first year and many wait years to be given a diagnosis The diagnosis was a complete shock to her family, as they had never heard of the condition before and found it hard to understand how it worked.

Her life was transformed as her partner Gavin became her carer, providing much needed help to complete daily tasks. They had their homes transformed to be able to allow wheelchair access through it.

Despite undergoing such a huge change to their lives, Lucy remained determined not to let the condition define her and went on to set up a new charity called FND FrieNDs to support others going through a similar change in life style.

She joined fellow trustee and sufferer Kevin Clark, from Little Stoke, to help raise awareness about their condition, as well as support those who feel like they are alone when they go through their diagnosis.

Kevin also became housebound after developing Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD), a form of FND that mimicks epilepsy.

The charity was their inspiration for signing up to the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k on Sunday 13 May, where they aim to raise much-needed cash for FND FrieNDs as well as taking on a huge personal challenge.

Lucy, 42, said: “FND turned me almost overnight from a well mother-of-two with my own business into someone who is wheelchair bound and confined to just two rooms in my home.

“FND is almost completely unheard of, mainly because of the stigma that is attached to the diagnosis. My diagnosis was a total shock, especially as I did not know much about the condition.

“The diagnosis had a profound effect on the whole family. My role within the family changed, as I was unable to participate in any of the practical jobs that I as mother traditionally did.

“My husband had to start working from home and so his world has shrunk as my carer. I was taken ill in 2015, following an asthma attack. Many of the drugs used to treat asthma leave people with a slight tremor as a side affect.

“Normally, this tremor will disappear, but for me on this occasion the tremor became more obvious, until I was completely unable to use my arms.

“I became unable to feed myself, dress myself or even drink normally without a lidded cup and I spent over four months in hospital.

“Now I am able to propel myself around the house and walk very short distances but before, I needed help for the most basic of tasks.

“I struggle with fatigue and physical activity. I now rely on the use of a wheelchair and if someone had told me how things would be two years down the line, I would never have believed them.

“After we set up FND FrieNDs with some other sufferers, I really needed something to focus on, something to give me the impetus to get fitter.

“The Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k is an amazing opportunity to raise some much needed funds to help others who are going through the same thing.

“For us, getting fit enough to do the 10k is going to be a challenge in itself but we are determined to take it on.”

Lucy and Kevin will join together to represent FND FrieNDs, whilst taking on the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k, an iconic event in Bristol's city centre that features over 13,000 runners.

The 10k course starts and finishes on Anchor Road and takes participants on a tour of Bristol, travelling along the Avon Gorge and passing under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The trustees felt that taking on the event would be a platform of awareness for the charity and to reach out to those who have just been diagnosed.

Lucy added: “As a charity we hope to be able to work with medics to raise awareness about what living with FND means to patients.

“I think more financial support would help research into the causes of the disorder enable research to be done into the causes of the disorder.

“For the two of us, getting fit enough to do the 10k is going to be as much of a challenge, as our neurological symptoms are unpredictable, and fatigue is a big factor.

“Being in control of these sufficiently to do the 10k is going to require an enormous amount of planning, pacing and practice but we are looking forward to taking on the challenge.”

To find out more about FND FrieNDs visit: https://fndfriends.org

Enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k at: Greatrun.org/Bristol10k