Just three years after having a major operation, cancer survivor Aaron Henderson is gearing up to run 13.1 miles as he takes on the Great North Run.
The 25-year-old from South Shields and his family have been supported by CLIC Sargent since doctors found a tumour inside his spinal cord when he was 14.
In 2004 Aaron’s teacher spotted his running had become lopsided and a scan revealed a tumour.
Radiotherapy shrank it but Aaron was left with permanent nerve damage in his right side, which meant he was unable to write and had to do most things with his left hand.
Then in 2012 Aaron was given the devastating news the tumour had started growing again and he had to have an operation to remove it.
Aaron said: “They warned me that there was a chance the operation could leave me paralysed and afterwards I had to learn to walk again.
"I had pins and needles from the neck down and simply walking was terribly difficult. It was a few months before I was stable on my feet."
Three years on
But just three years on Aaron is busy training to run the Great North Run on Sunday 13 September.
He said: “Three years ago I definitely wouldn’t have imagined I’d be running a half-marathon. Walking seemed a difficult enough task and I would get tired very easily.
“Doing the Great North Run came up because a few people in work had signed up and they asked if anyone else fancied doing it.
"I’d made it a goal to sort my health out and get fitter and this seemed like a good opportunity to raise my fitness, focus on a goal and raise some money for a charity which has given me so much support.”
He continued: “I’ve found I love running, although there are challenges because of the problems I’ve had with my spine.
"Sometimes it can be a bit much and the running causes pins and needles in my legs. But regularly running seems to help. I can definitely see myself doing a marathon in the future, maybe the London Marathon next year!
“I still have to go for scans every 12 months but the surgeons believe they have got rid of the whole tumour and I’m in good health.”
Aaron’s mum Tracey will also be joining him on the starting line for the Great North Run and we are looking forward to cheering them both on in their home town of South Shields in just a few weeks time!
Aaron – you’re a star! Best of luck in this year’s Great North Run.
Great North Run 2016
Entries for the Great North Run in 2015 have closed but if you already have your own place, sign up to join our team and help support young cancer patients.