Fowlmere woman set to run London Marathon despite suffering potentially life-threatening genetic disorder

Hayley Woods, here after the Cambridge Half Marathon, is hoping to raise £2,000

Hayley Woods, here after the Cambridge Half Marathon, is hoping to raise £2,000 - Credit: Archant

A woman who suffers from potentially life-threatening genetic disorder that means she is regularly admitted to hosptal for minor infections has signed up for one of the toughest physical tests around.

Hayley Woods, who has the extremely rare condition cyclic neutropenia, plans to run this year’s London Marathon as she doesn’t want to ‘live her life in a bubble.’

Hayley, who works as a trade union officer for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Running the London Marathon has always been a dream of mine. If I don’t do it this year, when will I?”

When Hayley was 18 she developed the one in a million condition – caused be a lack of infection fighting white blood cells – while studying for her A-Levels.

She was diagnosed after suffering a string of severe mouth ulcers, sinus infections and chest infections.


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Since then, the 33-year-old has been hospitalised on several occasions, and in one particularly nasty incident went into acute kidney failure caused by food poisoning.

Hayley, from Fowlmere, needs to take antibiotics for every potential infection so that she can ward of the risk of life-threatening condition sepsis.

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The condition is so rare – affecting only 700 people in the world – that no charity exists to solely support sufferers.

She will be taking on the 26.2 mile capital challenge to raise funds for Genetic Disorders UK, which helps people with genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Huntingdon’s Disease, Downs syndrome and muscular dystrophy.

She said: “If there is a cure in my lifetime, then that would be life changing for me.

“A big factor in keeping me well is my amazingly supportive family and friends – especially my husband Michael –who takes on an awful lot when I am ill or feeling run down and in need of a rest.”

You can support her efforts via the Virginmoneygiving.com website, using the search term HayleyWoodsGeneTeam.

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