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Mum Enters London Marathon To Raise Awareness Of Angelman Syndrome

March 20, 2023

    A mother is running the London Marathon to raise awareness of her son’s genetic condition.

    James Gray, 25, has Angelman syndrome which the NHS describes as a genetic condition affecting the nervous system.

    It causes severe physical and learning disabilities and his mother Janette Gray said James sometimes faced discrimination as a consequence of it.

    She said she hoped to help address the negativity by raising greater awareness of the condition and fundraising.

    “I know that he is valued as an individual, but I have had some very upsetting comments directed to me in the presence of my son,” she said.

    Mrs Gray is running in the marathon to raise money for the charity Mencap.

    She said: “I want to give back, I want Mencap to be there for other people.

    “I have always been grateful for practical advice and support – this is what Mencap provide.”

    James was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome at 18 months old.

    “He appeared to be a happy, smiling baby at first.

    “Then we had the slow realisation that something was not right.”

    At the age of 25, James moved out into social care.

    “Like most parents, you become aware you cannot do this forever,” Mrs Gray said.

    “This is a step towards independence from us.”

    She said she had some anxieties about his move but she also saw the opportunities it gave him.

    “You always want to be there for them,” she said.

    Mrs Gray said running in the marathon was her way of showing her son that she was still “there for him”.

    So far, she has raised nearly 40% of her £2,500 fundraising target.

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