A young runner has been chosen to fire the starting gun at the Junior Great North Run this weekend after having to scrap plans to compete in it due to serious illness.
Isaac Fell, 10, from Tallington, has taken part in the 4km event on many previous occasions and hoped to be one of the first finishers in his age group this year.
But Isaac was diagnosed with leukaemia in February and is currently undergoing chemotherapy – meaning he reluctantly had to pull out of the event.
He will, however, be present on Saturday to cheer on younger brother Noah in the 1.5km Mini Great North Run before acting as honorary starter for the 4km race.
Mum Liz, 39, said: “Since being diagnosed, Isaac has shown remarkable strength and courage making us extremely proud to be his parents.
“He is not only a joy to others in the clinic when we go for treatment but he is a constant inspiration to all who know him as they see how he takes everything in his stride.
“Isaac has continued to go to school and try to live life as normally as possible. He is not really able to run and has been last by a long way in recent events he has taken part in, which is not something he is used to.
“He loves running so much that he says it outweighs his frustration of not being able to compete at the same level.
“It is sad that 4km is just too far for him in his treatment but we are so happy that Isaac will be able to be involved in the event still.”
Dad Simon will be running the half-marathon, along with Liz’s father Mike Freeman, on Sunday.
As previously reported in the Mercury, Isaac began complaining of a sore back in December last year. Doctors initially thought it was a pulled muscle, but after falling ill at William Hildyard Primary School, in Market Deeping, in January, further tests led to a leukaemia diagnosis.
Since then, Liz, Simon, Isaac, Noah and wider family and friends have been raising money for four cancer charities and have so far raised more than £4,000.
Liz added: “The Great North Run is a very special weekend for us as a family.
“I grew up standing on the streets of Newcastle and South Shields cheering my dad on and now have spent many years standing there cheering on my husband too.
“Isaac and Noah have grown up going each year to support and then began taking part in the Mini and Junior Great North Run so we are really happy that we can continue this even though Isaac is unwell.”
To support the Fell family’s fundraising efforts, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/ TeamFell