Sarah to tackle Great North Run after battling devastating condition

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Miracle woman Sarah Bulley will run her first ever half marathon – after overcoming a devastating condition that left her virtually housebound.

Sarah Bulley used to have 200 seizures a year, which came without warning and lasted for up to five minutes a time.

FUNDRAISER: Runner Sarah Jayne Bulley (34, center) with her mum Sylvia Harrington (left) and Jacqui Gettings, Operations Manager from Epilepsy Outlook Picture: DAVID WOOD

FUNDRAISER: Runner Sarah Jayne Bulley (34, center) with her mum Sylvia Harrington (left) and Jacqui Gettings, Operations Manager from Epilepsy Outlook Picture: DAVID WOOD

It was all Sarah knew from being six months old through to 19, and it became so bad, she needed more than 100 tablets a week to try to control it.

But after undergoing two hours of pioneering brain surgery, she has been completely cured and she’s all set to tackle her next big hurdle by completing the Great North Run to help other epileptics.

The 34-year-old mother-of-two, from Bishop Cuthbert in Hartlepool, said: “I have been through it and I know how difficult it is for other people. I want to raise money for them.”

Sarah will run the 13-mile course next month to raise money for the town charity Epilepsy Outlook. Already, £500 has been raised but, for Sarah, it is just as important to raise awareness.

People have no idea how it affects you. It affects everything. It affected my schoolwork, my friendships and going out. It affected everyday activities. There was no part of my life that it did not touch

Sarah Bulley

She looked back on her own epilepsy and said: “People have no idea how it affects you. It affects everything.

“It affected my schoolwork, my friendships and going out. It affected everyday activities. There was no part of my life that it did not touch.”

Sarah suffered both petit mal and grand mal seizures. Once, when she was 17, she made a calendar of her attacks. They reached 200 seizures in that 12 months alone.

The impact on her was devastating. She needed to miss school, had to sleep for hours to get over the after-effects, and became scared to venture out of the house.

FUNDRAISER: Runner Sarah Jayne Bulley (34) Picture: DAVID WOOD

FUNDRAISER: Runner Sarah Jayne Bulley (34) Picture: DAVID WOOD

She remembered one day when she was planning to visit her mum at work and suffered a seizure in the street – remembering nothing of what had happened to her afterwards.

But then in 1999, Sarah had a temporal lobectomy at Middlesbrough General Hospital.

Surgeons spent two hours removing the anterior portion of the temporal lobe of the brain.

And ever since, she has been free of all seizures. The mum to Daniel, eight, and Lily, six, – and who is married to Michael Bulley, 40 – said: “There are so many things I have got now that I could not have had before.

“The list is as long as my arm.

“I have got my lovely husband and two children. I have got a supportive family.

“I have got everyday activities and I enjoy running.”

Sarah, who works as a domestic at the University Hospital of North Tees, needed 17 tablets a day before her operation. Now she is a member of the Burn Road Harriers athletics club in Hartlepool and hopes to complete the Great North Run in two hours and 15 minutes.

She said: “I am ecstatic at doing it and I know there will be tears on the day, but all I want to do is get to the finish line and support this wonderful charity.”

Epilepsy Outlook operations manager Jacqui Gettings said: “She is running for us because this is a cause close to her heart. It is really exciting for the charity that she is doing something that means a great deal to her.”

Sponsorship forms to support Sarah are available at the Epilepsy Outlook branches in Park Road, York Road and Oxford Road.