A MARATHON man lifted the spirits of a Hartlepool youngster suffering from a terminal illness.
Yorkshireman Kris King is raising money and awareness of Huntington’s Disease by running and cycling around the coast of Britain in a 2,500-mile trek.
He paid a visit to battling Ellie-Mae Morgan, 16, at her Hartlepool home who is in the late stages of Juvenile Huntington’s Disease, for which there is no cure.
Kris, 26, who lives in Sheffield, is running a marathon or cycling at least 100 miles every day.
He said: “I lost someone recently to Huntington’s who was a father figure to me.
“I have raised awareness and done the odd marathon in the past but nothing on this scale.
“I feel I have to do something this big to get people to raise awareness and get people’s attention.”
He learned of Ellie-Mae after her mum Sam Morgan began following Kris’s work online.
He said: “Ellie is incredibly brave, she was smiling all the time.
“It is people like her that keep me going during my challenge.”
Huntington’s Disease is an inherited condition that damages nerve cells in the brain leading to a gradual loss of function of speech and movement.
Ellie-Mae’s condition has sadly rapidly deteriorated since she was diagnosed by Newcastle’s Centre for Life in March 2012.
She can no longer communicate or stand and has been rushed to hospital numerous times because she stopped breathing.
Ellie lives with her mum, Sam, 46, dad, Richard Carter, 36, her brother Harry, 17, and sister Olivia, 13, in the Elwick Road area of Hartlepool.
Sam, full-time carer to Ellie-Mae, said: “I think Kris is an inspiration and what he’s doing to raise awareness is above and beyond the call of duty.
“To keep going the way he is fantastic. The more awareness we can raise the better.
“It has been an absolute pleasure for us to meet him.”
Kris has raised over £12,500 for the Huntington’s Disease Association so far.
“It provides support to families with or at risk of the disease.
You can follow Kris’s progress on Twitter @coasthunting and donate at www.justgiving.com/teamawesome-hd.