A Gosforth mum is leading a Great North Run campaign to support a children’s brain tumour charity after her son was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
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 14-year-old son Freddie has received from Tom’s Trust psychologists.
Out of nine runners taking part for the charity, seven are a team Jenny pulled together – made up of family and friends of her and Freddie.
Altogether the group are taking 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.
Jenny, who is leading the charity’s Great North Run campaign for the second year running, said: “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 £3,600, that will help three more children like Freddie.”
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 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 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. We wish them the very best of luck for the big day. 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.”