A GRATEFUL mum is taking on a 10km run to thank a hospital for treating her epileptic son... dressed as Father Christmas!

Anna Francis, of South Woodham Ferrers, will take part in the London Santa Dash this Sunday in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Son Charlie, aged four, and hubby Steve will cheer on Anna and four of her close pals as they run in festive fancy dress to help raise vital funds for the hospital which has cared for Charlie since he was just nine weeks old.

Charlie was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2014 after having a seizure, and doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy.

He underwent extensive tests including telemetry, where special wires with sensors were attached to his head to read his brainwaves and to gather vital information about where the seizures were starting.

The results showed Charlie could benefit from brain surgery which he underwent in October.

Anna said: “The month before we came in, he was having seizures every other day.

“They would always knock him out and leave him needing a sleep to help him recover, which was really hard to watch.

“We knew we had to do something and in October he underwent the brain surgery.” Charlie’s parents stayed in family accommodation, funded by the hospital children’s charity, the night before his operation and during his recovery.

Anna and her friends will join thousands of participants taking on the London Santa Dash on Clapham Common to say thank you for the care and support Charlie received from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

She said: “I can’t fault any of the staff at GOSH – the nurses are fantastic and the doctors are phenomenal.

“It’s always a place I feel confident Charlie is getting the best possible care and taking part in the Santa Dash is my way of saying thank you to them all for looking after him.

“This year I’ve roped in four of my friends and we’ve signed up for the 10k as I really wanted to challenge myself.

“My training is going well and I’m feeling good up to nine kilometres, so I’m hoping the adrenaline will carry me over the finish line.”

GOSH Children’s Charity spokesman Laura Savory said: “We’re so grateful to Anna and her family for sharing their story and for taking part in the London Santa Dash, which is such a fun event and the perfect way to kick-start Christmas celebrations.

“We’re encouraging everyone to swap their sofa for a Santa suit and join thousands of fun-runners, as every penny raised will help seriously ill children from across the UK cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and their families too.”

Visit www.gosh.org/santadash.