A North Tyneside resident will put on his running shoes to revive a family tradition, which this time will be for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Mark Mordue has taken part in the Great North Run half-marathon on 15 occasions, most of them with his dad until he died 13 years ago.
The story of why he has signed up again starts three years ago when his then 13-year-old son Kieran felt a few strange lumps on his neck.
At first, the doctors said it was nothing to worry about – just growing pains.
But a few months later, the lumps had got bigger. After some tests, Kieran and his family, who live in Backworth, were told he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer.
Mark said: “It was a very big shock for all of us.
“His older brother Ross was just angry – saying how could this happen?
“But nothing phases Kieran. When he found out, his first words were: ‘Well, I’ll beat it.’”
Treatment was tough. After a week in hospital, Kieran then had six chemotherapy treatments over six months – each one lasting up to seven hours – followed by regular radiology appointments.
His treatment took place at the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital. The unit, funded by generous public donations, is specially designed for young people with cancer, which made a big difference to Kieran.
Mark said: “When we walked into the unit, we just thought wow!
“It wasn’t like a normal hospital ward, more like a youth club with a games room – a place where all the young people can chat or watch films. It took their worry off them.
“He probably expressed more about what he was going through to the other young people he met there than he did to me and his mam. They still all get together once a month.”
Kieran, now 16, celebrated going into remission two years ago.
As for being one of the charity’s runners in the 2019 Great North Run, Mark said: “After my dad died, I did it again for my 40th birthday, but really I’ve had no-one to run it with since. I never thought I’d do it again.
“But after what happened with Kieran, Ross – he is 17 at the moment and will be 18 when the event takes place in September – said he was going to do the Great North Run for Teenage Cancer Trust, and I had to do it with him.”
Places with the charity are still available. For details, go to www.teenagecancertrust.org/greatnorthrun