Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland woman inspired to take part in aid of the hospital that saved her life

By Staff Reporter

AN actress from Northern Ireland who has raised more than £100,000 for charity following life-saving brain surgery has completed her latest fundraising effort by running the hottest ever London Marathon.

Cliodhna McCorley (27), development officer with The National Youth Theatre, completed the London Marathon in five hours 51 minutes on Sunday.

She was raising money for the National Brain Appeal, the charity that supports The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, where Cliodhna had a life-saving brain operation in 2015.

"It was the hottest marathon on record and I was so scared and nervous at the start," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Once I got going I was overwhelmed by the number people along the route cheering us all on.

"Everyone gets behind you and I was so grateful as it really helped," said Cliodhna. "When it got tough, I thought about my reasons for doing this and that also spurred me on.

"It was an incredible buzz to get to the finish line. I am so glad that I did it and that it is now over!

"Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be able to run a marathon. It just goes to show you that when you really put your mind to something you can do it," she added.

In May 2015, aged 24, Cliodhna was diagnosed with a brain tumour and needed major brain surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

Following her traumatic time, Cliodhna made a brilliant recovery. "I was a fit and healthy 24-year-old in 2015," the Co Antrim woman, now living in Clapham, said.

"The day after a family trip back to Northern Ireland I started to experience sharp pains in my jaw that felt like electric shocks.

"At first I thought it was my wisdom teeth, but my dentist advised me to go to my GP."

Cliodhna's doctor was concerned and referred her to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery as he thought she might have trigeminal neuralgia - a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve in the face and head.

But the neurologist broke the news that Cliodhna had a large brain tumour. Medication to control seizures and numb the pain was prescribed, followed by life-saving surgery.

The operation took place in June 2015 and she spent the next three weeks in hospital, relearning how to stand up and walk.

It was five months before Cliodhna was able to return to work.

"I owe my life to the hospital," she said.

"Raising funds is vital to ensure they can continue their pioneering work and save lives."

Belfast Telegraph

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