A MUM is taking on a ten kilometre run dressed as Father Christmas to thank a hospital for treating her epileptic son.

Anna Francis, of South Woodham Ferrers, will take on the London Santa Dash on Sunday in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Anna’s son Charlie, 4, and her husband Steve Francis will cheer on Anna and four of her close friends as they run in festive fancy dress to help raise vital funds for the hospital that has cared for Charlie since he was nine weeks old.

Charlie was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in 2014 after having a seizure, and doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy.

He underwent extensive tests at GOSH including “telemetry” where special wires with sensors were attached to his head, to read his brainwaves and to gather vital information from his brain about where the seizures were starting.

The results of this and other tests showed that Charlie could benefit from brain surgery which he underwent last month.

Mrs Francis said: “The month before we came in, he was having seizures every other day. They’d always knock him out and leave him needing a sleep to help him recover, which was really hard to watch.

“We knew we had to do something, and in October he underwent the brain surgery.”

Charlie’s parents stayed in family accommodation, funded by GOSH Charity, the night before his operation and during his recovery.

Charlie is now recovering, and to say thank you for the care and support Charlie’s received from GOSH, Anna and her friends will join thousands of participants taking on the London Santa Dash in Clapham Common.

She added: “I can’t fault any of the staff at GOSH, the nurses are fantastic, and the doctors are phenomenal. It’s always a place I feel confident Charlie’s getting the best possible care and taking part in the Santa Dash is my way of saying thank you to them all for looking after him.

“This year I’ve roped in four of my friends and we’ve signed up for the 10k as I wanted to challenge myself. My training’s going well and I’m feeling good up to nine kilometres, so I’m hoping the adrenaline will carry me over the finish line.”

Laura Savory, Head of Community Fundraising at GOSH Charity, said: “We’re so grateful to Anna and her family for sharing their story and for taking part in the London Santa Dash, which is such a fun event and the perfect way to kick start Christmas celebrations! We’re encouraging everyone to swap their sofa for a Santa suit and join thousands of fun-runners, as every penny raised will help seriously ill children from across the UK cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), and their families too.”

Visit www.gosh.org/santadash.