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Harley, 5, overcomes rare illness to raise money for doctors in fun runs

Harley has run two 1km races and has a third planned.

A young boy left unable to walk after being struck down with a rare illness is now taking part in fun runs for charity.

Doctors initially thought Harley Margerison had a virus in December last year, but he was rushed to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, when he lost control of his legs and began slurring his speech.

The five-year-old, from Speke, was diagnosed with Sydenham’s Chorea, a rare condition caused by a germ which affects the area of the brain controlling movement.

He was treated with a course of antibiotics, discharged from hospital, and referred for physiotherapy as well as speech and language therapy to aid his recovery.

Despite still experiencing tiredness and weakness, Harley took part in the Liverpool Spring 1km run in May to raise funds for the doctors who helped him.

His mother Clare Higgins, 29, said: “I ran with Harley – I thought he’d stop, but he just kept going.

“It was so hot, but he just kept saying ‘I can do this mummy, I believe in myself’.

“He was so happy when he got his medal, now he wants to do it all the time.”

He’s just a boisterous five-year-old little boy Clare Higgins

Harley ran in another 1km race this month and is already planning his next in August.

Ms Higgins said: “Just a few months ago he couldn’t walk and now he’s running races.

“He goes to swimming club every Friday. He’s just a boisterous five-year-old little boy who’s into everything.”

Harley will need to take antibiotics until he is 18 to prevent the infection from returning, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Cath Harding, head of community fundraising at the hospital, said: “Harley is an incredible little boy.

“It’s an amazing achievement to have completed a 1km run such a short time after leaving hospital and we’re thrilled he chose to raise money for Alder Hey.”

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