Natalie's Journey Well, I'm two weeks in to training for the Leeds Abbey Dash on 6 November and I'm feeling strong. I honestly never thought those words would ever cross my lips as I'm not a natural runner. I'm the girl at school that used to jump into the bushes to hide during cross-country training. Then, when the class came back, I would jump back out and join in again. I hated running, every inch of my being hated running, but then something changed. My daughter Esmee was diagnosed with a Neuronal Migration Disorder when she was 10 weeks old. She has damage to the right frontal lobe and this results in her having severe Epilepsy, including four different seizure types which are very difficult to control with medication. At 10 weeks old we were told (as many parents are) to expect nothing from her. She might be able to recognise us but, due to the damage, that was all we could expect. That was if she survived her first year. There is never a good time to receive news like this but four days before Christmas hit me hard. I remember putting my baby into her sling and walking around the shops Christmas shopping and when Craig, my partner, picked me up six hours later I hadn't bought anything. Not a thing. I had just spent six hours staring into shop windows or looking at other families and wondering if we would ever have the joy that seemed to fill their lives. And for the next few years I buried my head in the sand, closed myself off from the world and lived in this strange and emotionally crippling void. Pleasures were fleeting, short lived, and tainted with guilt, but we learnt to grasp the moments that life offered us. Esmee smiling, crawling… Family Fund helped us so much because they gave us the chance to find those happy moments and create very precious memories so today, when we look back, it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s empowering. When we look back we think ‘Wow, we survived that together!’ When I started jogging/walking back in February of this year I was four stone heavier and struggling to jog for 30 seconds, never mind 30 minutes. I had got to a stage in my life that I wanted to challenge myself so I signed up to run the Leeds 10k for Family Fund. I knew that I needed a solid goal to push me succeed. Plus, I also knew that people would support me as I was about as close to being a runner as Madonna was to being a virgin. The sponsorship started coming in and that was it. My journey began! By the time I did the Leeds 10k I had fallen in love with running. As I mum of four children under seven, two of whom are disabled, tea-time was... well I'm not actually sure what it was. It was madness and would take me right to the point of insanity. But, I soon discovered that if I planned my runs for just after Craig came home from work, just after tea-time, I could down tools and leave him with the absolute chaos. He would then calm everyone down for bath time. So that's what I did and I milked it for every last mile!!! I found myself looking forward to my runs. They gave me a massive sense of freedom and relief. If Esmee had had a bad day of seizures, running gave me that opportunity to burn the day off. It is sort of self-cleansing; a brilliant stress reliever. My reward was seeing my children's faces at the finish line and hearing Craig shout "GO ON LOVE!" while air punching the sky. It made me feel so proud to be part of something bigger than me. To be a part of Family Fund, knowing that the money I was raising would literally change lives.