Teaching assistant Leah Forster was just 42 when she was given the devastating news that she had Parkinson’s Disease.
She received the diagnosis last year after noticing a weakness down the left side of her body and having to go for tests.
Following the news she has thrown herself into various charity efforts, raising £8,100 to help fund research into the condition – which affects the central nervous system.
The inspirational mum-of-two is also keen to raise awareness of the fact that many younger people are diagnosed with the illness, despite the fact that it tends to be associated with adults in their 60s and 70s.
While it is true that the disease is fairly rare in people under 40, it is also thought that those in middle age don’t always receive a diagnosis, suggesting that the number of young sufferers is higher than official statistics would suggest.
“My symptoms were only minor. It was a big shock as I thought only old people got Parkinson’s,” Leah told the Northern Echo.
“At first I didn’t want people to know what I had, I didn’t want a fuss made.
“I have an example to set to two sons that there are people far worse off than me.”
Chrissie Fielden, a regional fundraiser for the charity Parkinson’s UK, said: “Leah has been a complete inspiration to us all.”
Parkinson’s is thought to affect up to ten million people worldwide, with symptoms including tremors, stiff joints and problems balancing. Among the most famous sufferers are former boxing champion Mohammed Ali and Back to the Future actor Michael J Fox.