22-year-old Laura Nuttall from Nelson near Burnley, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer in 2018. She is running the Great North Run with her family to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Laura is taking part alongside mum Nicola, dad Mark and sister Gracie, despite suffering from immunotherapy induced arthritis which has limited her mobility to the point that she regularly needs the use of a wheelchair.
Mum Nicola explains,” All her joints were so painful that even short walks were difficult. She also suffers from very low blood pressure so gets light headed and passes out!
“On top of that she’s dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy and serious levels of fatigue. Most sensible people would think 13.1 miles might be a step too far but Laura is incredibly determined and we’ll be with her every step of the way.
“It’s something that Laura’s always really wanted to do, she supported me back in 2009, then helped out with the Brain Tumour Charity recovery tent in 2019 when Gracie and her mum ran with her Gramps.
“She was too frail to manage it then, but loved the incredible atmosphere and really wanted the chance to take part. If Laura’s up for the challenge, she’ll always have the rest of the family by her side to support her.”
While Glioblastoma has an average prognosis of just 12 months, Laura’s been through 3 brain surgeries, 30 sessions of radiotherapy and almost 2 years of chemotherapy. The family also make monthly trips to Cologne where she has immunotherapy treatment.
In the meantime, she returned to university, this time in Manchester and in July graduated with a 2:1 in politics, philosophy and economics.
Nicola continues, “We are so proud of her and how incredibly hard she’s worked to graduate despite the gruelling treatment regime.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 and yet receive roughly 2% of the cancer research spend. Treatments haven’t changed in decades and we are losing far too many young people to this dreadful disease.
“We will be running not just for Laura but also for so many of the friends we’ve met in the last 4 years whose lives have been so cruelly taken by brain cancer.
“We’re so excited for the day, we’re staying in Durham the night before, where I was a student.
“During the race we’ll stick together, stroke every dog we see and enjoy the incredible sights and sounds along the course. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the Red Arrows as Laura was lucky enough to spend the day with them earlier this summer and can’t wait to see them fly over the Tyne Bridge.
“I imagine there’ll also be plenty of ice pops, jelly babies and high fives along the way, and if Laura gets too tired, Dad will be there to give her a piggy-back!
“Laura was lucky in that she was diagnosed quickly, many people have to make repeated trips to their GP before they find out what’s wrong so please do check out www.headsmart.org.uk and be aware of the key signs and symptoms to look out for.
“The Brain Tumour Charity have provided the whole family with a great deal of support, so it’s brilliant to be able to fundraise for them and hopefully move us closer to a cure.”
In 2021 the Great North Run, celebrated four decades of incredible runners. This year, our focus is very firmly on the future, and our first steps towards the 50th. At the 2022 Great North Run we’re shining a spotlight on the next generation of runners; why they run and why they raise.
60,000 people have entered the event which will take place on Sunday 11 September, returning to its iconic city to sea route after two years of pandemic related changes.
The Great North Run will be televised live on BBC One from 10-12:10 and from 12:10 – 14:00 on BBC 2. A highlights programme will be shown on BBC 2 from 17:00 – 18:00.
For more information visit greatrun.org/north.