Hartlepool teen with rare condition is home after US drug trial

Georgia Hart, left, with Cheryl Laycock from the gym at the Life Centre, High Tunstall College of Science in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, who is taking part in a sponsored run to help with her treatment in America.
Georgia Hart, left, with Cheryl Laycock from the gym at the Life Centre, High Tunstall College of Science in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, who is taking part in a sponsored run to help with her treatment in America.
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A Hartlepool teenager with a rare degenerative condition is back home after beginning a new drug trial in America.

Georgia Hart, who has the potentially life-threatening condition Freidreich’s Ataxia (FA), spent five days at a specialist hospital in America where she received her first dose.

Cheryl Laycock  fom the gym at the Life Centre, High Tunstall College of Science in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, who is taking part in a sponsored run in aid of former pupil Georgia Hart  to help with her treatment in America

Cheryl Laycock fom the gym at the Life Centre, High Tunstall College of Science in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, who is taking part in a sponsored run in aid of former pupil Georgia Hart to help with her treatment in America

The condition, which affects just one in 50,000 people in the world, attacks and damages the central nervous system.

It affects 18-year-old Georgia’s balance and mobility and her heart.

This weekend Georgia’s personal trainer and friend Cheryl Laycock is holding a 12-hour runathon event at High Tunstall College of Science, in Elwick Road.

It is part of the Save a Hart fundraising campaign which aims to raise around £25,000 to help pay for regular trips to America Georgia will have to make for the drug trials over the next seven months.

We are very lucky to have friends like Cheryl

Bev Hart

Her mum Bev, of Serpentine Road, said: “Georgia has started her first dose of the drug. She is fine, but obviously the travelling is tiring.

“We don’t anticipate any huge improvements immediately but there have been no adverse effects which we are pleased about. It is so far so good.”

They are due to return to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in around two weeks for the next stage of the trials.

This Sunday’s runathon will see teams running on the track at Georgia’s former school.

Organiser Cheryl, manager of the Life Gym, based at the school, previously raised around £3,000 with a similar spinathon after Georgia was diagnosed three years ago.

Cheryl said: “I have known Georgia since she was little. I used to teach her to swim, and have stayed in touch with her and her family.

“I decided to do this to try and get a bit of money to get Georgia backwards and forwards to Philadelphia.”

The event runs from 7am-7pm and fancy dress is optional. There will also be lots for spectators to enjoy including a DJ, bouncy castle, facepainting, tombola, cake and food stalls.

Bev added: “We are very lucky to have friends like Cheryl and would like to say thank you to her for what she is doing and everybody else.”