A Sunderland girl will run the BUPA Mini Great North Run on Saturday 14 September to celebrate the successful end of over two years of gruelling cancer treatment.
Beth McCaffrey, 6, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in June 2011. She is taking on the 1.5km race to raise money for the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in the week that her treatment finishes.
Beth’s mum, Karen, said: “Beth was diagnosed 10 days after we’d got back from holiday. She’d had no symptoms other than a sore hip. She went to nursery as usual but the pain got worse and she developed a high temperature.
“We went to the GP and were sent for blood tests at Sunderland Royal Hospital. At this stage the doctors weren’t overly concerned and the blood tests seemed normal. Beth was sent home after a night in for observation, but I still felt something was wrong.
“The next day we got a call and were asked to come back in - I just knew then it was leukaemia. Blast cells had been found on the blood film, a strong indicator of leukaemia. We were immediately referred to the RVI in Newcastle, were treatment began immediately.
“Beth needed two intensive blocks of chemotherapy in hospital, followed by maintenance therapy. When we found out that there would be over two years of treatment, I thought Beth wouldn’t be able to do anything during that time, but she’s coped so well.
“She’s managed to attend the majority of her first year at school and she is doing well in all her classes. She’s very active and loves PE and swimming. When I mentioned the Great North Run to Beth, she really wanted to do it and raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.”
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is the official charity of the BUPA Junior and Mini Great North Runs, which take place on Saturday 14 September, the day before the adult race.
Over 50,000 competitors will take on the BUPA Great North Run on the Sunday. Celebrities from TV shows such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street will be running for the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research TVTimes celebrity running team on the day.
Dan Solley, Head of Sports Events at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “We are constantly inspired by the stories of those taking part in events for the charity and the dedication of our supporters like Beth. Every penny raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research will help us in our mission to beat blood cancer – stopping people from dying and making patients’ lives better.”
People can sponsor Beth by visiting her fundraising website at www.justgiving.com/mccaffrey-karen