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The real-life sleeping beauty, 17, who has illness which makes her belt out songs while snoozing for 12 DAYS at a timeShannon Magee has rare neurological disorder called Kleine-Levin SyndromeSuffers bizarre episodes where she will sleepwalk naked and gorge sweetsHas slept through Christmases, skiing holidays and even her GCSE examsLikens illness, dubbed Sleeping Beauty syndrome, to 'being awake in coma'
13:28 GMT, 27 December 2012
'Like being awake in a coma': Teenager Shannon Magee suffers from a rare disorder which makes her sleep for nearly a fortnight at a time
A teenager has been dubbed a real-life 'Sleeping Beauty' after being struck down by a medical condition which makes her nod off for almost 12 days at a time.
Former army cadet Shannon Magee, 17, suffers from a rare neurological disorder which means she can sleep for 22 hours a day for almost a fortnight.
She also has bizarre episodes – roughly once a
month – where she will belt out pop songs at the top of her voice, walk
around naked and have ghostly hallucinations while she sleeps.
For the past five years, the youngster, who has two brothers and three sisters, has slept through birthdays, Christmases, family holidays including a skiing trip to the Alps and even her GCSE exams.
Shannon was seen by various doctors before finally being diagnosed with Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS) after her father, Christopher Dodd, researched her symptoms online.
There are only 45 people in the UK who have the condition, which is a complex neurological disorder characterised by periods of excessive amounts of sleep and altered behaviour.
The teenager wants to become a nurse so she can help others, but is worried her condition will get in the way of her dream.
Shannon, a college student in Bolton, Greater Manchester said: 'It is like being awake in a coma. It takes part of your life away with it.
'It's like I'm in my own little world and I don't recognise people. When I'm awake it's like I'm sleepwalking.
'The year when Alexandra Burke went on
X Factor was particularly bad for my parents as I kept singing
Hallelujah for four days solid. What makes it worse is that I can't sing
at all and I only knew the chorus to the song.
'I was like a broken record on repeat and just kept singing hallelujah over and over again.'
Shannon has episodes each month, which usually last about 12 days, during which time she can sleep for about 22 hours per day.
When she is awake, her behaviour changes as she can become aggressive and demands sweets and chocolate, and needs around-the-clock care from her parents.
'It takes part of your likfe away with it': Shannon, 17, suffers from Kleine-Levin Syndrome, which is sometimes called Sleeping Beauty syndrome
Bizarre episodes: The condition also makes the former Army cadet belt out pop songs, walk around naked and have ghostly hallucinations while she sleeps
It also affects her memory, and she says huge chunks of her teenage years are blank.
Shannon added: 'My memory of when it first happened was playing in the pool with my brother Jake. I just started singing JLS really loud but I can't really remember much else.
'Then all I wanted to do was sleep, I think everyone thought I must have been bored or tired. I'd just crash and in the morning I'd have to be dragged out of bed.
'My family thought I was trying to be awkward and lazy and they had to literally pull the quilt off me and out of bed. It must have been very maddening.
'I think they thought I was being an obnoxious teenager. Looking back, the first time I started singing they didn't think much of it because they thought I'd been bitten by something.'
She said the second episode happened when she returned to school in the September.
Mystery solved: Shannon was seen by various doctors before finally being diagnosed after her father, Christopher Dodd (pictured), researched her symptoms online
'I had just gone into Year 9,' she added.
'I was in my English lesson and I kept falling asleep. I had an
overwhelming urge that I had to go to sleep.
kept getting told off and I got moved to the front of the class. I
actually fell asleep in class and my teacher shouted at me and she moved
me to the front of the class.
couldn't help it though as I just felt overwhelmingly tired. I couldn't
keep awake and ended up getting sent to the head of year's office. As
far as the school was concerned, I was just being rude.'
She said she saw various doctors who were unable to help.
said: 'I was like a machine, I ate like a pig and slept. I binged on
Galaxy chocolate and wine gum sweets or anything which I could get my
hands on and then I'd go back to bed for three or four days and then I'd
come out of it.
Missed treasured moments: Shannon, pictured with her family, has slept through birthdays, Christmases, holidays including a skiing trip to the Alps and even her GCSE exams
'In the meantime, my stepdad thought that he would have a look on the internet at sleeping disorders and saw one which ticked every box.
'When it happens I get a feeling like a rush up through my chest to my neck and then I get a headache all day. I'd describe the feeling as similar to a panic attack, it starts in my chest and the feeling moves up to my throat.'
Shannon is now on medication normally used for epilepsy sufferers.
WHAT IS KLEINE-LEVIN SYNDROME
KLS is a neurological condition that starts during adolescence and sometimes will begin after an infection or illness.
It is characterised by periods of excessive sleep of up to 22 hours a day.
This symptom lasts between days and weeks.
During such an episode a sufferer may be irritable, childish, disorientated and want to eat excessive amounts of food.
Patients are fine between episodes.
Shannon is just one of 1,000 people worldwide to suffer from the disorder which is commonly known as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome.
Around 70per cent of sufferers are male.
There is no known cure for the disorder.
She went on: 'I miss parties, Christmases and every year when we go away I have an episode, I even missed some of my GCSEs because of it. I completely fell asleep in my English Literature exam.
'I wouldn't remember if I had gone out because I'd be so spaced out in a dreamlike state. When I am in the middle of an episode I am like a zombie.
'I've just come to accept it now, although it is frustrating. I don't know when the episodes will come to an end it's like a waiting game.'
Her mother, Julie Ratcliffe, 56, said: 'They were taking blood tests because they thought she was drunk or on drugs, then they thought it was epilepsy.
'Even when we go to appointments and it is on her medical records, the doctors don't know what it is.
'When she is in an episode it can be very stressful and she can be very challenging. She has a vague expression on her face and I can get about 50 texts at work asking for things because she has forgotten she has already texted.
She added: 'We feel better knowing it is not life-threatening, but there is not enough information, nobody knows the answers.'