A 17-year-old who suffers from epilepsy will be taking on her first half marathon this September at the Simplyhealth Great North Run.
Katie Lee, from Monk Bretton in Barnsley, is running the 13.1 miles to raise money for the charity who supported her in the early stages of the condition.
Katie said: “When I was six, my family noticed my eyes were flickering and took me to the GP to see what was wrong.
“Soon after being referred to a specialist, I was diagnosed with Petit Mal – or Absence – seizures.
“In 2011, I had surgery to implant a Vagal Nerve Stimulator, which is designed to prevent seizures by sending electric impulses to the brain.”
Epilepsy has had an impact on so many aspects of Katie’s life, including school and her daily routine.
She said: “Every day brings its own challenges; when I was in education, I would regularly have a seizure and miss what the tutors were saying, as my seizure type means I would just stare into space.
“This affects everything I do now, and even crossing a road can cause concern.”
Due to the unpredictable nature of epilepsy, some seizures can have more serious implications.
Katie said: “In September 2013, I suffered from a Grand Mal or Tonic-Clonic seizure.
“I was unconscious and I had stopped breathing,”
She is fundraising for the charity who supported her in the early stages of the condition.
Katie said: “When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy, we received so much help and advice from Epilepsy Action.
“Since then, my family and I have always raised funds for Epilepsy Action to continue helping other people who are affected by epilepsy.”
Katie will be joining thousands of runners at the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday 10 September.
The weekend also includes the Junior and Mini Great North Run, the Great North 5k and the Great North CityGames on the Saturday.
Despite this being her first half marathon, it won’t be her first time at the Great North Run weekend.
She said: “I have taken part in the Junior Great North Run over the past three years, which has given me so much confidence to keep doing more runs.
“Now that I’m old enough to enter the half marathon, the Simplyhealth Great North Run will be my biggest personal challenge yet.”
She added: “I cannot wait to cross the finish line with my parents by my side.
“Epilepsy is a condition and no one change that, however epilepsy does not run my life: I do.”
For more information about the Simplyhealth Great North Run, visit our website.