A Gosforth mum has led a Great North Run campaign to support a children’s brain tumour charity after her son was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Jenny Mann and the other eight runners successfully completed the half marathon for children’s brain tumour charity Tom’s Trust, to help raise vital funds for the charity in recognition of the support, care and treatment her 14-year-old son Freddie has received from Tom’s Trust psychologists.
Out of nine runners who took part for the charity, seven are a team Jenny pulled together – made up of family and friends of her and Freddie. She has run the Great North Run for Tom’s Trust two years in a row.
Jenny, who completed the run in 2 hours 26 minutes – 14 minutes faster than last year, said:
“The Great North Run is the most amazing experience and to do it for Tom’s Trust makes it even more special. At four miles in it was so hot and I thought I can’t do this and then I reminded myself why I was there doing it – to help children and their families, like ours. It got me through the rest of the run to know I was helping others in the same situation as my own family. The support Freddie gets from Sarah, his psychologist, has been and is life-changing! It is an unbelievable feeling crossing the finish line knowing why I was doing it and what I had achieved and can’t wait to do it all again next year for this amazing charity, thank you for giving me a place Tom’s Trust.”
The group took part in the Run for Three campaign, raising enough money to fund the care for three families in the North in need of psychological support following a brain tumour diagnosis. They have raised £2,500 towards their target already.
Her son Freddie was diagnosed with a right-sided temporal low-grade glioma brain tumour at just 11 months old following a seizure. The tumour grew 10 per cent in less than six months and at the age of just one Freddie underwent surgery to remove 90 per cent of the tumour, as removing it all would have left him paralysed on his left side.
Despite making a seemingly good physical recovery, Freddie has been left with long-term speech and communication difficulties and has also struggled with memory problems. Though he can understand lots of what he hears, when language is complex it is harder for him to keep up with the conversation, which has led to periods of feeling isolated for Freddie. In 2019, he was diagnosed with a mild acquired language disorder linked to the remaining tumour.
Thanks to support from his psychologist at The Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle – funded by Tom’s Trust – he has improved greatly and had support from school and family, who have been provided with information to help them communicate with him. Freddie has faced huge adversity but his mum says he is ‘always cheerful and has an incredibly positive outlook and attitude towards life’.
Kirsty Keegan, Head of Fundraising at Tom’s Trust, said:
“We can’t thank Jenny and the rest of The Great North Run team enough for taking on this challenge for a second year in a row and they really did amazingly on the day. The money raised will go such a long way in helping the unique families we support. We are so thrilled we have been able to help Freddie over the years, and we are thankful to him too for always being a brilliant Young Ambassador for us.”