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Ex-cricketer making runs in bid to raise money for charity.

Byline: Michael Brown Reporter m.brown@ncjmedia.co.uk

A FORMER county cricketer with a rare neurological condition has lost more than five stones in a bid to run and raise money for a Tyneside hospice. NHS worker Nikki Dodds, who also played rugby for the region, suffers from Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH).

IIH is an increase in the pressure of fluid around the brain which affects one in 100,000 people.

And after six operations in seven years, the 37-yearold is preparing to take on the Morrison's Great North 10K and Great North Run in memory of her uncle who lost his two-year battle with cancer in December.

"I was diagnosed in 2007 after suffering the symptoms of IIH for a number of years," said Nikki, who works for NHS Business Services in Newburn, and is also the ambassador for the charity IIH UK. "It caused severe headaches, vision problems and dizziness.

"There is no known cause and therefore no known cure. The treatment options available are limited - medication and shunts are used but these are not designed to treat the condition specifically."

Nikki had a shunt inserted into her spine in July 2008 and has since had six operations in seven years.

She said: "Having this condition has changed my life.

"I had to retire from playing rugby and have had several spells off work due to the operations and the symptoms of the condition. My weight slowly crept up because of the two to three months a year I've had to be inactive."

In order to fight the flab Nikki took up running in 2012, and has since taken part in two Great North 10Ks - but hopes to smash her best time this year.

"I first started running in 2012 to help recover from an operation, lose weight and regain my fitness," said Nikki, from Ushaw Moor, near Durham.

"My previous personal best for the 10K is one hour 26 minutes but my aim this year is to run the whole 10k, as I have never managed to do this in the past, and I hope to knock about 20 minutes off that.

"My training has been going well and I've lost around 5.5 stones since last year. And as well as the 10K I'm going to run the Great North Run in September.

"Both events are in aid of St Benedict's Hospice in Ryhope."

Entries for the Morrisons Great North 10k Gateshead on Sunday, July 5 are open now. It costs PS25 per entry. To sign up visit www.greatrun.org/great-north-10k And to be in with a chance of one of the last 100 places in this year's Great North Run visit ChronicleLive.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Launch of the Morrisons 10k run. Nigel Plews will be running in this pink dress

Former cricket and rugby player Nikki Dodds is run-|ning to raise cash for a hospice

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2015
Words:484
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