A Herculean effort by Hitchin nursery school staff aims to boost charity’s profile

Diane Szanto and Sahara Islam of York Road Nursery School are running 10km to raise funds for Prader

Diane Szanto and Sahara Islam of York Road Nursery School are running 10km to raise funds for Prader-Willi syndrome research. Also pictured on right is Diane Frainer. - Credit: Archant

Two members of the team at Hitchin’s York Road nursery school have been so moved by the problems faced by one pupil that they’re prepared to push themselves through the pain barrier.

Nursery nurse Diane Szanto and learning support assistant Saharah Islam have been working closely with the pupil, who has Prader-Willi Syndrome, during her time at the school.

Through their work they’ve become more aware of how this complex syndrome affects both those born with the condition and their families, and decided to support the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association UK.

That’s why they’re in training to tackle their first 10km run at Hercules Festival of Sport in Luton later this month.

The festival – at the town’s Inspire sports complex, which is the home of TV celebrity diving show Splash! – features a whole range of challenging contests including triathlon and aquathlon events.


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The festival is being held on Sunday, May 24, which comes at the end of a national Prader-Willi Awareness Week.

“The training hasn’t been easy for either of us, but it’s nothing compared to what Prader-Willi sufferers and their families have to cope with,” said Mrs Szanto.

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Parents and colleagues have been quick to support their efforts, and anyone else who would like to help can do so online at www.justgiving.com/saharahanddiane.

Head Diane Frainer, who took up her role at the start of term, said: “Diane and Saharah’s decision to tackle this challenge is typical of the caring community spirit I have been so impressed by since coming to York Road.”

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that can affect both boys and girls from birth. Someone with the syndrome cannot remove the feeling of hunger no matter how much they eat.

They may also have mild to severe learning difficulties and be affected by immature physical and emotional development.

You can find out more about the condition online at www.pwsa.co.uk.

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