A SHEFFIELD woman with a rare neuromuscular disease has set herself the challenge of completing the city’s half marathon next month.
Alyson Adam, aged 28, of Walkley, struggled to talk or even open her eyes in the months before she was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis.
The disease, which attacks the nerves to stop muscles from working, is so rare it took eight months for doctors to diagnose. Her body was shutting down but she didn’t know why.
“I can still remember how utterly depressed I was when I didn’t know what was wrong with me.
“I was becoming less mobile and my speech was becoming slurred. Because I was young, people thought I was drunk on the street when I fell over. It was petrifying not knowing what was wrong.”
After being diagnosed in 2004, Alyson’s condition quickly deterioratedand she was often unable to feed herself, wash or brush her hair. The disease often makes sufferers switch from seeming perfectly normal one moment and a few hours, or even minutes later, turn droopy and listless.
She turned to help from the Myasthenia Gravis Association website and now she wants to raise money for the charity and to prove she has not been beaten by the condition.
“I knew nothing of the disease when I was diagnosed but the MGA website gave me the information I needed and reassurance that I wasn’t alone.
“I learnt how to cope with the disease and what treatments are available. Now medication keeps my symptoms at bay and after a thymectomy in 2005 I feel like my MG is under control and I have regained a good quality of life.
“MGA miss out to the big charities and I want to increase awareness of both the disease and the fantastic work MGA does. MG is hard to come to terms with, so hopefully my story will encourage people to run for charities which don’t get much exposure because they do such a good job locally.”
Alyson, who works as the technical editor for the European Respiratory Society’s publications, is hoping to complete the race in three hours.
Barry Gregory, chairman of MGA South Yorkshire branch, said there are more than 100 known MG sufferers in South Yorkshire.
“Alyson is an inspiration. Her life has dramatically changed in the last seven years.
“The fact that sufferers can completely lose mobility so quickly and unexpectedly means that our funds are vital to quickly provide support and make home improvements so they can keep as much independence as possible.”
The SIG Insulations Sheffield half marathon, which starts and finishes at Don Valley Stadium, is on Sunday, May 8 and is now full. Runners can still sign up for the 3km Fun Run.