Labour candidate who suffers from 'Sleeping Beauty syndrome' pledges to fight for other people with rare illnesses

Heather Peto says she will 'work when I can and staff would fill in the holes when I can't'

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The Independent Online

A prospective Labour MP who suffers from “Sleeping Beauty syndrome” - a disorder that means she can fall asleep for up to 20 hours - has vowed to fight for other people who suffer from rare illnesses.

Heather Peto, who is standing in the Leicestershire constituency of Rutland and Melton, said that if she was elected she would "work when I can and staff would fill in the holes when I can't”.

The correct medical term for Sleeping Beauty Syndrome's is Kleine Levin Syndrome. The condition only affects around 1,000 people worldwide. 

Episodes of excessive sleep can last for days, weeks or even months, meaning that normal daily activities have to come to a halt, according to the KLS Foundation

Ms Peto, who is transgender, told BBC Radio Leicester that her "intention was to get into Parliament to raise these issues and fight for my constituents but also to fight on a more general basis for people who have rare illnesses."

She said: ”Hopefully by the time 2022 comes along, I will be completely over it." 

Is she was elected, she said she would "work when I can and staff would fill in the holes when I can't”.

She said her illness is not constant, and there are times when she feels as though she is in a daze but other times when she feels perfectly alert and well.

“I can't really plan around it very well, but on a morning I will know if I'm going into an episode and then for about five days, those five days will be written off,” she said.

The candidate was homeless for a time in the 1990s after she became ill and slept on the street rather than go into a hostel for men.

She said she is "fortunate" that she has only a hazy memory of this time.

“I’ve got these big gaps in my life where I’ve gone through episodes and just cannot remember what’s actually happened,” she said. 

However, Ms Peto faces a tall order trying to overturn the majority of the sitting Tory MP Sir Alan Duncan, who won the seat with a majority of 21,705 in 2015.