A mum is taking on her first ever marathon in memory of her toddler son who lost his life to epilepsy.
Natalie Mason (36), business manager at St Paul’s Community Primary School in Spalding, will raise money for Epilepsy Action as she pounds the streets of London on April 22.
In her heart, as always, Natalie will carry the memory of her son, Kian, who died in his sleep – unexpectedly and without warning – nearly 14 years ago after being put to bed in his cot.
“He was two years, three months and 16 days old,” says Natalie.
Her marathon in “memory of my baby boy” will allow Epilepsy Action to raise awareness of epilepsy and assist research into the condition.
Natalie is getting a boost from staff and pupils at St Paul’s, who will hold a Purple Day for epilepsy awareness on March 26, as well as family, friends and supporters who have so far donated more than £1,100 to her JustGiving page.
Although taking on The London Marathon, Natalie explains: “When I go out running, I go with a friend (Claire Beckett) and we see these people who look like runners go flying past and we are ‘blowing’. We are not runners.”
That said, Natalie has a couple of 10ks and two half marathons under her belt, and will tackle a 20-mile course in Bedford on March 25 with her husband, Luke, who has been a massive support on training runs and cooking healthy meals to keep Natalie properly fuelled up.
She’s been running three times a week since November and the training – combined with a strict eating regime – is making her determined to cross the line, and to make it her one and only marathon.
Natalie said: “I will only ever run this one marathon because it takes up so much of your time.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I have to do it ... if I have to crawl across the finish line I would after all I have put into it.”
Natalie has a daughter Tiana (10) and son Koby (5), both born long after Kian died.
But they know “all about their big brother” and why Natalie is running the marathon.
The mum describes Kian as laid-back and happy yet he suffered “episodes” described by medics as probably “febrile convulsions”.
Those episodes were sometimes severe enough for an ambulance to be called, and it would end up in a hospital stay, but Natalie doesn’t recall the word “epilepsy” ever being mentioned to her by a medical professional.
After Kian died, Natalie learned he had suffered an epileptic fit in his sleep.
Writing on her JustGiving page, Natalie says: “Who knew (certainly not me) that epilepsy could be a cause of death – I still don’t understand it to this day. I thought it was a condition people had and they controlled it with medication (perhaps that’s the case if it’s diagnosed and medicated early enough).
“I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent this happening, but I had no awareness of epilepsy, the different types, the types of treatment/medication available.”
Read Natalie’s full, moving story and donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/natalie-mason-kian