Tracey McMaster, age 44, from Sheffield will be participating in the Head Start charity run with her family to thank the staff for saving her life 16 years ago and providing high quality care ever since.

Back in 2002, Tracey was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus which is a condition where there is an abnormal build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain.

After being rushed to hospital Tracey underwent life-saving surgery to drain the fluid on her brain and relieve the pressure.

Tracey said: “Apparently my first words when I came round after the surgery were ‘thank god that headaches gone’ and when the surgeon came to see me I couldn’t resist making a joke about how now at least I knew I had a brain up there”

“I kept thinking how lucky I was to still be here but I also thought – ‘why me?’

“I remember a few days after the surgery when the nurse took my bandage off and she asked if I would like to see my hair. I couldn’t believe that one side of my hair had been completely shaved off”.

“It looked ridiculous but it’s a small price to pay. I decided to get sponsored to have the remaining hair shaved off and I donated the money to ward N2 at the hospital”.

“Since the first operation I’ve been in and out of hospital numerous times but it was my 5th spell in hospital which was the scariest for me.  I had to have an operation which involved drilling a hole into my skull but it needed to be done with me awake. I was so unbelievably frightened.

“After they had monitored me post-surgery they didn’t understand why I was still getting headaches and the surgeon said it was down to me to fight as I couldn’t have further operations.

“I remember telling my mum that I’d had enough and I just wanted to die. I wanted mum to know it was my time to go and not to worry as I wouldn’t be in pain for much longer.

“Seeing how broken she was when I said that made me realise I had to fight, I had to do this!

“Thankfully the shunt which they had inserted started to work and I then went to rehabilitation at the Northern General for a month where I had to learn to build myself back up, I even had to learn to walk again and needed to prove I could look after myself. One month later I was sent home.”

From then on Tracey began to lead a normal life again, and the past 9 years for Tracey have been great. She gave birth to her little boy Sam in 2011 and got married to her long term partner Roy in 2017.

Tracey added: “When I’m playing with my son, I have to remind him to be careful near my head and I still get pressure headaches from time to time. I can’t lay flat without going dizzy and I get short of breath quickly, but I’m here, I’m lucky and I’m appreciating life and living it to the fullest.

“I can never thank the staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals enough and as much as I know I’ll probably need more treatment, I know I’ll be in safe hands. And I’ll always have my rock, my mum.”

Team McMaster are taking part in the annual Head Start running race to raise vital funds for Neurocare and to help patients being treated in Sheffield for neurological conditions.

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/tracey-mcmaster

To support patients like Tracey and to take part in the 5 or 10k run on Sunday, 19 May at Rother Valley Country Park, visit //www.neurocare.org.uk/event/head-start-5k-10k/

Head Start is kindly sponsored by Dutton Recruitment.