WHAT a difference 20 months makes.
To look at Hartlepool woman Heidi Readman-Ahmed, you would never guess that in October 2012 she was just an hour away from death.
The Mail reported in January 2013 that the mum-of-two had returned to work just weeks after medics gave her an hour to live after she suffered life-threatening complications linked to bowel condition Crohn’s Disease.
She spent eight weeks in hospital, had parts of her digestive system removed and her weight plummeted to just under six stone.
But less than two years later, Heidi is getting set to take part in not only the Great North 10k, but also the Great North Run on September 7 and the Cancer Research UK Race For Life on July 6.
She has been a familiar face on the 5k Parkrun circuit since taking up running in March.
She was hoping to break the 30-minute barrier for her finish time in Hartlepool’s 5k Parkrun on Saturday.
But despite Heidi’s energy, she masks with a smile her disappointment that doctors recently told her she is stuck with her ileostomy bag, similar to a colostomy bag, for life.
She was fitted with the piece, which she has playfully dubbed her “Gucci bag”, 20 months ago and was told it would be temporary and she would need it for six to 12 months. But medics have said the only remains of her bowel she has left is so severely diseased, if they tried to reverse the procedure and join it back up she may not survive surgery,
Heidi, of Evergreen Close, Bishop Cuthbert, admits she had a “mini meltdown” when she heard the news.
But she said she just picked herself up and is getting on with life.
She said running helped to take her mind off her condition.
Heidi previously told the Mail she has “no stop button”.
And she is certainly proving that. Just last week she joined a group of other Hartlepool people in the Three Peaks Challenge for the Finley Cooper Fund.
And her next major event is the Great North 10k, which starts and ends at Gateshead Stadium on July 13.
Heidi, who is mum to Manal, 12, and four-year-old Aqeel, said: “I’m excited, I can’t wait.
“It’s the first time I’ve done an official race.”
She will be joined by her “Parkrun Tarts”, including Phil Dunn, Phil Holbrook, Bill Hornby, Mike Altringham, Nicola Davies, Nick Loughlin and Paul Smythe.
“It’s the people I’m running with that makes it all the more enjoyable,” added Heidi, who lives with her children and partner Sirf Ahmed, 40, a company director.
Heidi is also taking part in the York 10k in August and the Benidorm Half-Marathon in November.
l Mail view: Page 8