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Around 10,000 North East fun-runners of all ages and abilities will be putting their best foot forward for the 34th annual Children’s Cancer Run.

The event, which will be held at Newcastle Racecourse on Sunday 15 May, is organised by the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund (NECCR) to help raise vital funding for research into childhood cancers.

Every penny raised goes towards the work of the NECCR to improve the lives of children with cancer in the North of England. In 2015, the Children’s Cancer Run raised over £189,000 for the NECCR, adding to the £5 million which has already been raised by the event over the past three decades.

Cancer is the number one cause of non-accidental death in young children in the UK. The money raised for the NECCR directly funds research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer, helping to establish the North East as one of the world leaders in this specialist area of research.

This year’s runners include 28-year-old Support Worker Monika Matyjasek, from Middleborough, whose son Oliver was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) in February 2013, when he was just four-years-old.

Oliver’s mother Monika, who at the time of his diagnosis had little knowledge of what Leukemia was, said: “While Oliver was undergoing treatment at the Great North Children’s Hospital we were approached to take part in a clinical trial, like those that the NECCR help to fund.

“The trial meant Oliver’s chemotherapy and subsequent steroid treatments were kept to a minimum. I’m so glad we did this as it had a positive impact on Oliver’s mood during his months in treatment and also lessened the side-effects, such as weight gain, caused by steroids.”

NECCR vice chairman Jim Richardson, whose son Brody was diagnosed with Leukaemia when he was two years old, will also be taking part in the run.

He said: “My son has just completed three years of gruelling treatment, and things are looking good. His positive progress is all down to research, which has turned the disease from a death sentence into something that can be beaten.

“But not every child does win their fight with cancer. The NECCR continues to do fantastic work and it is more important than ever to raise vital funds for research into children’s cancer. The Children’s Cancer Run is a fantastic event to support the NECCR in their mission to help more children beat cancer and live long happy and healthy lives.”

Newcastle-based bakery chain Greggs, who each year sponsor the Children’s Cancer Run, will be providing the post-event picnic for runners.

Roger Whiteside, Chief Executive of Greggs, said: “Thanks to the continued commitment and support of Greggs employees and customers alike the second Sunday in May is one of those key dates in the diary when I feel an overwhelming sense of pride to be leading a business that really cares about making a different to the local communities that it serves.

“The medical developments which have been achieved in the North East, thanks to the money raised from this one event over the last 33 years, are truly inspirational. On behalf of Greggs I’d like to thank in advance the volunteers who donate their precious time and wish all runners the best of luck – happy fundraising!”

Metro Radio will be hosting a Roadshow live from the event and Stagecoach bus drivers have volunteered their time to operate a special shuttle service on the day.

Participants can enter as a single runner, as part of a team, or with their school. Runners will receive a medal, t-shirt and a Gregg’s picnic to share with their friends and family.

For more details about the event, visit: www.childrenscancerrun.co.uk

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