An Inverurie mum is preparing to take on the River Ness 10k next month to mark her miracle son’s fifth birthday.
Denise Middler’s son Owen was conceived on a third and final attempt at IVF and then born in breech in the back of a car with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
To mark his birthday, Denise decided to take on a year of personal challenges to give thanks for Owen growing up into a strong little boy and to show how he has helped to turn her own life around.
Over the past seven months she has taken a leap of faith on white-knuckle zip lines, walked a half marathon, completed an adventure obstacle course and ran her way around numerous 5k and 10k races.
Her year of fundraising and self-challenge will come to an end on Sunday, September 24 when she takes on the River Ness 10K at the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running.
It will have added significance to Denise as Inverness was the place where she and her brother Richie, who died very suddenly 10 years ago as a result of heart disease, grew up together.
Denise has suffered from severe endometriosis since she was a teenager and was warned that the condition, which leaves her in crippling pain, would mean she would find it impossible to conceive a child naturally.
Denise and partner Darren, had almost given up all hope of ever having a child of their own but they were over the moon to discover she was pregnant after undergoing three rounds of IVF treatment.
Denise said: “After settling down with Darren we looked into options and were offered IVF. We were left under no illusions that it would be very difficult because the endometriosis had left my body in such a mess, but it was still absolutely soul destroying when the first two attempts failed.
“When I fell pregnant at the third attempt we were incredibly happy, but terrified.”
Denise enjoyed perfect health throughout the pregnancy, but Owen arrived 11 days earlier than planned. Darren and her parents were driving her to hospital in Aberdeen, but were forced to pull over to the side of the road.
Luckily they were able to flag down a passing police car and the officers took over midwife duties until an ambulance arrived.
Owen was in the breech position and was not breathing when he was born as he was being choked by the umbilical cord.
He was whisked away to hospital, and a message came over the police radio to let her know the paramedics had found a heartbeat.
The endometriosis returned when Owen was about nine-months-old and the only treatment now available will be a hysterectomy.
Denise refuses to be beaten by the condition and set out this year to show what can be achieved by a determination to overcome the pain.
She has completed many fundraising challenges with Darren and a close group of friends, raising money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of her brother and the MS Society.
After completing the River Ness 10K, she will also stage a fundraising dinner dance with the proceeds going to the Aberdeen Fertility Clinic.