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York 10k runner Laura Massheder raises £1,000 for Down’s Syndrome Association
A MUM-OF-TWO from Wintringham has raised £1,000 for the charity that helped her baby son, in a bid to raise awareness of his condition.
Laura and Adam Massheder’s seven-month-old son Zac was born with Down’s Syndrome, prompting Laura and her brother Richard Taylor to take on the Jane Tomlinson York 10k to thank the charity that helped their family understand his condition.
It was a new challenge for 27-year-old Laura, who had never run more than seven kilometres before.
She said: “I was nervous because I had never done anything like it before, but I was doing it to raise awareness for Zac and to prove a point to myself.
“I am very pleased and very proud to have achieved it. Crossing the line was an emotional moment.”
Zac was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome when he was born at York District Hospital.
Laura said: “It came as a big shock to us, and in the first 24 hours I think our world came tumbling down.”
But with “fantastic” information and support from the Down’s Syndrome Association the family soon managed to come to terms with their new son’s condition.
“Once we came home and were back as a family it was better,” said Laura. “You just have to get on with things, and it could be a lot worse. Telling people was hard, because I was scared of their reaction. A lot of people were great, but a few people were negative because they don’t know much about the condition.”
Because of the help her family received from the Down’s Syndrome Association Laura said she wanted to do something to make sure other families could be as well supported and fight misconceptions about babies like Zac.
Now Zac is at home and growing healthily, and is doted on by big brother, Harry, three.
“We are very proud of who Zac is, and he’s doing fantastically. He’s absolutely fine and he likes his milk like any other baby,” said Laura.
“To Harry, Zac is just his little brother and I believe that is how it should be. I don’t think Zac’s any different, he just has a label.”
Together with husband Adam, 30, she is hopefully her youngest son will have the same opportunities as his big brother.
“People think that Zac won’t be able to do this or that, or he’ll be living at home for ever, but I don’t believe it will be like that and we treat Zac no different to Harry,” said Laura.
“There are a lot of presumptions made about Down’s Syndrome, and I don’t think it is fair on the parents.”
When Laura and her brother, Richard, started raising money, they set themselves a target of £100 which Laura has smashed, raising almost 10 times that figure. With about £700 donated through her online donation page and more given in person, they have raised almost £1,000. Next up is a sponsored skydive, which she said she would like to do next year.
The Down’s Syndrome Association has thanked Laura for her hard work. A spokesman said: “Every single penny raised by our supporters is ploughed back into providing support for our families. We are here to help Laura and her family throughout life.”
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