Monday’s Belfast Marathon is a big day for Jasper’s Army - a group of Mid Ulster runners - when they take to the streets to raise awareness of Polymicrogyria (PMG), a developmental malformation of the brain.
Jasper Canavan - just 22 months old - has been diagnosed with PMG and his parents, Lisa and Jack, are also keen to raise money for Polymicrogyria Family Support.
They are part of the 11-strong group of runners which consists of two relay teams and one full marathon runner - Jack.
Thirty-seven-year Jack only took running up four months ago and the marathon will be a demanding test of endurance for him.
The support group plays a vital role in helping people affected by PMG, as it works closely with parents of children who have been diagnosed with the rare condition.
It helps in a number of ways including supporting children when they are in hospital by sending them a gift and by organising meet-ups to offer support and advice.
Lisa and Jack became involved with the charity after Jasper received an MRI scan which confirmed his brain had formed differently.
“After the initial dread and worry about what the future may bring for our little star, we found Polymicrogyria Family Support,” said Lisa.
“Through their Facebook forums, we were quickly able to connect with other families, share stories, concerns, dispel the misinformation that is all over the Internet about the PMG condition, and start to look forward to the future.”
Jasper was diagnosed last June after he had issues on his right hand side and failed to meet his development milestones. “His MRI showed up Polymicrogyria in the left side of the brain,” explained Lisa.
She said she would advise anyone with a child diagnosed with a rare condition to contact a support group .
“This is where we got so much information that made our journey a lot smoother, and we have met many friends through it,” she added.
This is Jasper’s Army just giving link if you would like to help: