Sheffield teacher enters marathon for brain charity following son’s diagnosis.

By Harry Browse

A Norfolk Park woman has entered the London Marathon to raise £2000 for charity after her 3-year-old child was diagnosed with a rare brain condition.

Louise Woffindin, 36, a teacher at Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School, will be running for Brain Research UK on the 26th of April 2020.

She will be competing alongside her twin sister Laura Ruth, who entered the race as an independent runner and was one of the 4.2% of applicants who managed to secure her place through the public ballot.

The pair have already raised 10% of their £2000 goal which will go towards Brain Research UK, a charity dedicated to funding research into neurological conditions.

Louise decided to run the marathon after her son Rufus, 3, was diagnosed with epilepsy and a rare neurological condition called Chiari Malformation Type 1 in October 2019.

Chiari malformations are structural defects affecting the base of the skull and the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance.

Type 1 malformations are normally detected in adolescents and symptoms can vary from painful headaches to difficulties with movement and mobility.

While symptoms normally begin to show during late childhood, Louise noticed that Rufus had abnormal reflexes in his feet and legs and a hoarse voice which she is now attributing to the malformation.

She said: “People have said things like he’s got a really cute voice or Rufus needs to lay off the fags, those types of comments, but now we’ve got an explanation as to why he might have that sort of voice.”

The condition was discovered by chance after doctors conducted diagnostic MRI scans of Rufus’s brain following a series of epileptic seizures.

“He’s been having seizures since about this time last year, but they’re a mixture between febrile convulsions – so when he’s got a temperature – but he’s also had a few non-febrile convulsions, and that’s why he’s been given the epilepsy diagnosis.

“I imagine there’s probably a waiting list to see what happens. As long as he’s not suffering, I’m not going to worry about it just yet. He’s not in any pain so that’s good.”

In 2019, the Virgin London Marathon raised £66.4 million for charity, setting a new world record for an annual single-day charity fundraising event for the thirteenth successive year.

Originally submitted for portfolio assessment.

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