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Her kids' rare illness the spur for Sarah and pal to don their trainers for Runher

By Staff Reporter

Published 05/10/2015

Catherine Boyd. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Catherine Boyd. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Tiffany Brien. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners at the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Maria Pinto and Roisin Clifford. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Jill McCune. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lesley Heaney and Lindsey Hargan from Antrim Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lorraine Whiteway Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Janine Rainey from Larne Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Valerie Blayney from Bangor Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lisa Rodham Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Catherine Boyd Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lorraine Whiteway and Cathy Hamilton Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Frances McMullan Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Ciara McVicker. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lynda Haffey. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Beverly Reid from Lisburn Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Nuala Muldoon and Aoife McKeown from Belfast Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Samantha Ferguson from Bangor. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Ashleigh Myers from Belfast. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Ciara McVicker Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Joan Duffy and Carol Hill from Belfast. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Julieann Rowlands Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Tracey Hodgson Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lorraine Ogilby. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Joan Duffy and Carol Hill from Belfast Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Anna Norman Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners during the Belfast Telegraph Runher event. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Laura Walker and Carol Wilson Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Lesley Heaney and Lindsey Hargan from Antrim Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Violet Davidson and Elaine Orwin Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners at the start Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Nicola Armstrong from Banbridge Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Catherine Boyd and Clare Teer Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Natalie Thompson and Joanne Creighton Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Cara Hamilton at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners ahead of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Julie McMinn from Comber at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Alice Carson from Comber at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners set off at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Siobhan Rocks from Derry, Geraldine Devlin from Cookstown at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Emma O'Flynn at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Pic: Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Emma O'Flynn at the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Pauline Livingston at the  Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 5K & 10k. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Laura McClean and Julie Skelly from Belfast. Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.
Runners before the start of the Belfast Telegraph Runher Titanic Quarter 10k and 5k events. Pic: Press Eye.

Elaine Shanks took part in the 10K with her friend Sarah Coates, whose two children suffer from an extremely rare degenerative genetic disease.

Sarah's children Noah (8) and Gracie (5) are affected by the disease Vanishing White Matter Leukodystrophy. Elaine and Sarah are hoping to raise both awareness and funds for the disease.

>>Full 10k results<<

>>Full 5k results<<

Sarah explained that Noah was diagnosed before his third birthday and is now suffering from mobility issues and has started to use a wheelchair.

The pair are thought to be the only children in Northern Ireland with the disease.

She said: "They start out relatively OK but as time goes on their functions and abilities begin to deteriorate.

"It means gradually they will lose all of their functions. They use the hospice but we have to go to Holland for treatment with a specialist because it's so rare."

Vanishing White Matter Disease is caused by a mutation and is thought to affect just 200 families across the globe.

Currently, there is no cure for the disease and sufferers' lives are typically limited to their teenage years, but the pair hope that by raising awareness and encouraging research they will be able to change the lives of Noah and Gracie.

Elaine hopes to run a total of 100km split over 10 events. She said: "Most races will be in London but the most special is the first race in Belfast.

"All money raised will go to help with the costs of Noah's treatment and travel, as well as medical equipment he will need as the disease progresses."

For more information or to make a donation, https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/elaine-shanks

Belfast Telegraph

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