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Sonja spotlights a rare disorder

FIVE months ago sports enthusiast Steve Graham from Monkspath thought he had a dose of flu.

FIVE months ago sports enthusiast Steve Graham from Monkspath thought he had a dose of flu.

Bed rest and plenty of fluids did little to help the Corporate UK Tax Manager with his aches and pains but it took a 999 call and a six week stint in hospital to reveal the 46-year-old was actually suffering from a rare neurological disorder called Transverse Myelitis.

Now his wife of just two years, Sonja, who lives with her husband in Gillows Croft, is set to run the Birmingham Half Marathon on October 11 in a bid to raise awareness and funds for the Transverse Myelitis Society.

She said: “Steve had flu like symptons and went to the doctors on the Friday. Then on Friday night I had to ring for an ambulance as he was in pain with urine retention. He was in hospital for six weeks. I went on the internet after he was diagnosed and just thought ‘Oh my God’.”

Transverse myelitis is a disease of the central nervous system in which there is inflammation over a section of the spinal cord which can result in paralysis. Suffers normally experience reduced muscle strength and changed feeling in the lower half of the body. Bladder and bowel function may be affected. In the UK it is estimated there are about 300 cases a year.

Sonja, who is 37 and works at the Fieldhouse Pub in Hillfield added: “Five people in every million get the condition. A third make a full recovery, a third partial and a third none at all. Steve can walk now but he still has no feeling in his legs.” If you would like to donate to Sonja’s fund raising effort visit For more on the condition visit



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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