Marathon mum Ruth raises more than £1,000 for Ugandan disability charities
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A Sidmouth mum has raised more than £1,000 for causes supporting disabled children unable to access life-saving treatment.
Ruth Ray set herself the challenge of completing her first marathon before her 40th birthday in September.
She raised money for Ugandan charities Cure and Wanjawulo as her eldest son Ted was born disabled and received treatment not available in that country.
The 39-year-old had near death experiences during her first pregnancy and said she felt utterly hopeless.
She said the NHS and healthcare teams ensured Ted survived and has continued to live 'an active and joyful life' after he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus.
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Recently Ted, aged nine, has undergone a number of operations including emergency neurosurgery to have his shunt unblocked.
Mrs Ray said: "The country where Ted was born meant that he did not die as a premature baby, nor as an infant with an encaphalocele or ensuing hydrocephalus. Being born in the UK has meant he has been able to leave an active and joyful life thanks to the wheelchairs and walkers and glasses and chairs and lying boards and physiotherapy and special school education and speech therapy and paid-for activities. All of which he has been blessed with because we live in this wealthy country which aims to treat its most vulnerable with dignity and value."
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When she was in her 20s, the mum-of-four worked in Uganda.
She said: "A more important goal for me is to see what difference we can make for children like Ted who wouldn't ordinarily get access to the same opportunities he has had - for many these will literally be life-saving."
The runner decided that she would like to complete a marathon and on Saturday, July 21 she ran from Sidmouth to Exeter with her friends Sarah Sullivan and Jemma Wiltshire.
Together the friends smashed their target of £1,000 to split between the charities.
Cure provides charitable hospitals and programmes across 14 countries and performs simple but lifesaving operations, including neurosurgery.
Wanjawulo is based in a small community in Busu to work with children very similar to Ted and was set up by teachers and therapists from Millwater School, which Ted attends.
The staff return annually and have built a number of buildings to help run weekly sessions for families living with disabilities.
Mrs Ray said: "It's clear that I am one of the lucky ones when it comes to having a disabled child.
"The majority of children with Ted's condition of hydrocephalus that can't get access to relatively simple neurosurgery go on to suffer severe brain damage or death. "A more important goal for me is to see what difference we can make for children like Ted who wouldn't ordinarily get access to the same opportunities he has had. For many these will literally be life-saving."
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