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Rachel Reid and Greg Sochan with their daughter Alana-who suffers from the skin condition EB at the Echo Women's Mini Marathom.
Rachel Reid and Greg Sochan with their daughter Alana-who suffers from the skin condition EB at the Echo Women's Mini Marathom.
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Little Alana joins Cork's women for this year's Mini Marathon

A BRAVE toddler with an agonising skin disease overcame an infection that prevented her from walking to take part in yesterday's Echo Women's Mini-Marathon.

The mother of three-year-old Alana Reid Sochan proudly carried her through the marathon route before watching her take a number of steps at the event.

It was a victorious occasion for Rachel Reid from Knockgraha who had been nursing her daughter through a serious infection that resulted in a month-long hospital stay.

The three-year-old was born with the rare condition epidermolysis bullosa which manifests itself through severely delicate skin. The condition often requires heavy medication such as morphine to ease the physical pain.

Other effects of the disease include webbing of the fingers overtime which Rachel and husband Greg are working to prevent through physiotherapy. Even the subtlest of physical contact and everyday friction leaves Alana with agonising sores. 

The funds raised from Rachel's and her friends at the marathon will go towards Alana's Butterfly Life which funds her ongoing treatment Rachel told of how difficult the last number of weeks have been for the family.

"We were on holidays in Salut when Alana got an infection in her heel from the pool," she explained. "It was only four days after we got back that Alana stopped walking. There hadn't been any visible wounds so we had no way of knowing there had been anything wrong."

The weeks that followed had been extremely painful for Alana.

"She couldn't put any weight on her foot. Alana has had horrific wounds in the past but we hadn't seen her in that kind of pain before. For weeks she had to use a zimmer frame and wear special boots. The pain was so bad she couldn't even rest her foot on the pillow. She had been in hospital for a month between Cork University Hospital and Crumlin."

Rachel and her partner Greg battled through to help their daughter.

"She had a zimmer frame and boots. It was only two weeks ago that she finally started walking again."

The event was a reminder of how far the parents have come since Alana's birth.

"There was really no knowing what the future would hold," Rachel added. "When Alana was born we were told that she would either be in a wheelchair or run a marathon and today that's what we're doing."

She extended her gratitude to everyone who had turned out for Alana.

"There are 40 of us walking for Alana today and it's really nice to have that buzz around."

Meanwhile, Brenda O'Callaghan from Glasheen spoke of her battle to secure a bright future for her own daughter Grace. She was raising vital funds for the charity Down Syndrome Cork.

"They support children with down syndrome from birth to infinity," she said. "Because of the charity we have a much more positive outcome for our daughter."

John Martin from Mallow added a little glamour to the race with a show-stopping sequined dress.

"I volunteer with a charity shop called Aurora which raises funds for issues to do with mental health," he explained.

"They rigged me out but now I've lost my friends so I'm just walking through the city in a sequinned dress."