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Why Tabitha has inspired her mum to run the 10k.

WHEN six-month old Tabitha Joynes caught a cold, little did her family know their lives would be "turned upside down".

But because the virus spread to Tabitha's lungs she suffers from irreversible chronic lung disease.

Now her mother, Rachel Joynes, is running Middlesbrough's Tees Pride 10k to raise money for the Puffin Appeal, a charity which has helped her daughter.

From the age of six months Tabitha was frequently admitted to hospital as medics tried to work out what was wrong with her.

"She just took ill at six months," said Rachel, 36. "She was lifeless - she didn't even make a noise, she wasn't even crying."

Doctors think the common cold virus entered her lungs, causing irreversible damage, meaning she now has difficulty breathing.

Tabitha, who will celebrate her third birthday on September 18, is regularly hospitalised because of her condition and has to take an assortment of medication. She also has to sleep with a machine that blows air into her lungs.

Since the diagnosis, Rachel, of Fairfield, Stockton, says her "life has been turned upside down". Due to the seriousness of Tabitha's condition, Rachel has had to give up her job as a project worker for Down's Syndrome North East. And she's been trained in IV administration so she can help give Tabitha her medication.

Rachel, who is married to offshore worker, Damien, 45, said: "It's been traumatic. It's taken me a good year to accept that she is poorly and that it's not reversible."

And she says Tabitha's condition has a huge impact on her other children, Ebony 10, Hattie, eight, and Elijah, four.

But she says she is grateful for the support given to her by the Puffin Appeal, a charity geared at caring for and researching lung diseases in children.

Rachel said: "The Puffin Appeal has been really helpful. They are based in Newcastle and one of the consultants Tabitha sees set it up."

Rachel and some 30 friends and family will be taking part in the run on Sunday, September 4. And she hopes as many people as possible will take part.

She said: "It's a great personal challenge. You don't have to be a professional runner, you can jog or walk. It's something you can do with friends or family - you can make it into a social event." * To take part in the run, log on to www.runmiddlesbrough.com

CAPTION(S):

RAISING FUNDS: Rachel with husband Damian and children, Elijah, Ebony, Tabitha and Hattie IN THE RUNNING: Rachel Joynes is taking part in the Middlesbrough 10k for the Puffin Appeal which has helped daughter Tabitha Pictures by IAN COOPER
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 9, 2011
Words:437
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