To enter the Simplyhealth Great North 10k, visit: Greatrun.org/North10k

A woman who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and went through five invasive operations in the last year to remove it is set to take on her first running challenge at the Simplyhealth Great North 10k.

Maria Purvis, from Wooler in Northumberland, was diagnosed with a large brain tumour last year following a loss of her hearing.

Doctors queried the reasons behind Maria's loss of hearing and she was transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for an MRI scan, where she was told that she had a large benign tumour that was deep in her brainstem.

The diagnosis was a huge shock for Maria, who went from an active mum of three, with two horses and three dogs, to losing her independence.

She spent a month in hospital, having a shunt inserted before undergoing a 10 hour intrusive surgery to try and remove the tumour. She then went through a further four urgent surgeries in 2017 which left her with a long road to recovery.

Following her recovery where she had to learn to how walk unaided again, scans revealed that 50 per cent of the tumour had been removed.

Now her long term recovery is well under way, Maria decided to look for a challenge to focus on as a way to regain her independence. She decided to sign up to the Simplyhealth Great North 10k Gateshead which takes place on Sunday 8 July.

She's determined to take on the 10k at her own pace and time, to celebrate how far she has come in a year. Maria, 53, said: “To be told you have a large brain tumour sent me into hysteria at first.

“It is a bit of a cliche but I genuinely don't remember much more that was said that day. I was diagnosed quite suddenly as I had started suffering from hearing loss so I went to the doctors about that which is when the audio consultant transferred me to the Freeman.

“My tumour was very deep on my brainstem and because of its large size, it was pushing deep into my brain. “I had a ten hour surgery to try and get to the tumour out, which had a huge impact and made recovery very difficult. I then went through another four surgeries as the shunt that was inserted stopped working.

“This impacted my life a lot. I was very active, took my pets out and had a part time job. All of that was taken away from me.

“Physically I was left unable to walk unaided and lost my hair through the surgery, something which upset me a lot. “They managed to remove around half of the tumour but they expect it to regrow so I will have to have further scans next year to check its progress.

“It's taken me six months of just being able to get up each day and get on with things, I never realised how hard it would be. I had carers in four times a day and I just wanted my life back.

“I joined a gym when I felt strong enough to be able to and I decided to focus on something like a 10k run rather than looking back at being poorly.”

The Simplyhealth Great North 10k features 5,000 runners who share the satisfaction of completing a 10k challenge, while taking in the sights of the NewcastleGateshead Quayside.

Participants then enter Gateshead International Stadium where their family and friends can gather to cheer them on as they experience their own finish line feeling.

Maria is determined to complete her first 10k at the event, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

She added: “My training is helping me focus and is really helping me stop thinking about being poorly. “I now have my driving licence back which is a big step forward for me.

I am definitely not the fittest person but I am determined to complete the 10k.

“I am so very lucky that I survived as there are so many other people out there who won't have that opportunity so I want to make the most of every day.”

To support Maria's fundraising for Cancer Research UK, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maria-purvis1

To enter the Simplyhealth Great North 10k, visit: Greatrun.org/North10k