A dedicated mum from Gosforth is appealing for volunteers to join her in fundraising for a charity extremely close to her heart by running in this year’s Great North Run.
Jenny Mann is currently training for the half marathon in September 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 12-year-old son Freddie has received from Tom’s Trust psychologists.
Jenny will be one of 15 runners taking part in the charity’s Run for 5 campaign, which aims to raise £5,000 – enough to provide psychological support to five newly diagnosed children and their families in the North East for a whole year.
Tom’s Trust provides essential psychological support to children with brain tumours and their families, and Jenny knows first-hand just how important such a service is. Her son Freddie was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just 11 months old. Despite making a seemingly good physical recovery, Freddie has been left with long-term speech and communication difficulties. Thanks to support from his psychologist at The Great North Children’s Hospital – funded by Tom’s Trust – he has improved greatly and had support from school and family.
“The support we have received from Tom’s Trust has been outstanding – it’s opened a whole world to Freddie and the whole family, and we can’t thank the charity enough for providing this vital support.
Training for a half marathon might feel like a challenge – but it’s nothing in comparison to the journey so many children and their families have been on. I want the world to know how amazing Tom’s Trust is and do what I can to give something back. If we can raise £5,000, that will help 5 more children like Freddie.”
Freddie is one of Tom’s Trust Ambassadors. He was born with a brain tumour (a right-sided temporal low-grade glioma), which was discovered following a seizure at 11-months-old. The tumour grew 10 percent in less than six months and at the age of just one Freddie underwent surgery to remove 90 percent of the tumour, as removing it all would have left him paralysed on his left side. At the time it was unclear if he would recover or ever walk again, but Freddie soon became a keen sports enthusiast and grew up to be healthy and active.
Despite the positive recovery, Freddie experienced difficulties with processing language and he 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.
Since then, Freddie has been helped by a Tom’s Trust psychologist who has given him the support he needs. His school and family are also being provided with information to help them communicate with him. Freddie has faced huge adversity but is always cheerful and has an incredibly positive outlook and attitude towards life.
Despite the huge hurdles Freddie has already had to face in his short life, he has shown great determination and enthusiasm for raising money for the charity which has supported him. Freddie ran 4km every day in December 2020 as part of Tom’s Trust’s 31 Stars campaign, which saw Guinness World Record breaker Ben Blowes run a marathon a day to raise £31,000 to support 31 children and their families with critical mental health support. Freddie started his challenge on 1 December and, with friends running along in support on some days, battled wind and rain to complete his mission, raising an inspiring £5,010 in the process.
Tom’s Trust still has places at this year’s Great North Run on 11th September. If you’re interested in joining Team Tom, please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tomstrust.org.uk for more info. The only requirement of £300 for our charity.
Alternatively, if you wish to support Jenny and the other runners, the Just Giving page is: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/runforfive