Sheffield Woman Overcomes Rare Condition to run the London Marathon

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In an incredible display of resilience and determination, Katya Zafiris is set to lace up her running shoes this weekend to take on the London Marathon for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Katya had initially entered to run the Marathon eighteen months ago when her journey took an unexpected turn. She fell ill with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a very rare and serious neurological disorder that affects the nerves, and within 24 hours was placed in an induced coma at the Northern General Hospital.

Doctors informed her that it could take three to four years to regain some sense of normalcy in her life.

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Despite her daunting prognosis and with the support of the NHS team, Katya began her rehabilitation.

Katya recovering in hospitalKatya recovering in hospital
Katya recovering in hospital

Katya said: “It affects everything you take for granted in life. You have no control over anything with Guillain-Barré syndrome and I’ve had to re-learn how to do absolutely everything. At the time, I wondered whether I would ever be able to move again, walk again, let alone run.

When I was in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit and I woke up from an induced coma, it was almost like a reset. That’s where a new chapter of my life started. I have a new gratitude for just being alive and I see life so differently now. I owe my life to the team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.”

Just one year on and defying all odds, Katya is gearing up to run in the London Marathon on Sunday. She hopes to raise awareness about Guillain-Barré syndrome and is raising funds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity who help to support Sheffield’s NHS.

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Freya Kingswood, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at Sheffield Hospitals Charity said: “Katya’s strength and determination is absolutely inspiring and we’re so grateful that she has decided to take on this challenge in support of the incredible care she received at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. We’d like to wish Katya and all our other amazing runners a huge Good Luck for the London Marathon.”

Donations can be made by visiting Katya’s fundraising page here.