A YOUNG brain tumour sufferer will be among hundreds of runners taking part in a major fundraiser that aims to help stamp out cancer – just months after he had life-saving surgery.
Inspirational Hartlepool youngster Josh Dawson will take part in the Miles for Men event in aid of Cancer Research UK.
It will be an emotional affair for the family and friends of Josh, who turned six last month, as he is still feeling the effects of months of intensive radiotherapy.
The youngster gets tired easily and has returned to part-time lessons at Seaton’s Holy Trinity Primary School.
But if he gets weary on the three-mile course organiser Michael Day, 39, and Josh’s family friend John Rogers, 45, have vowed to step in and carry him.
His mum Michaela Dawson, 46, said: “No doubt it will be an emotional day with some tears. But we are so proud – Josh is really looking forward to doing the race.
“Josh wanted to give something back to the hospital that helped him.”
The Mail reported last October that Josh, from Seaton Carew, was facing a fight for survival having being diagnosed with an ependymoma, a rare tumour of the brain’s support cells that affects just 450 people in the UK each year.
He underwent life-saving surgery to remove the majority of the tumour last October and then had daily doses of radiotherapy at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, which ended in December.
The community has been rallying round to raise funds to send him to Legoland Florida after his gruelling treatment.
Josh had an MRI scan in March, but the results were not what the family had hoped for.
Former school catering worker Michaela said: “They showed a build-up of fluids in a sac in place of the tumour, and doctors aren’t sure what it is, we have to go back later this month to see if anything has changed.”
She added that four painful lumps had also appeared on Josh’s head after he banged it while playing.
Doctors are unsure whether it could be screws from when his skull was put back together in the operation, or whether it could be scar tissue, or something else.
But despite the recent setbacks, Michaela said her little fighter is looking forward to Miles for Men.
“It is all he talks about, that and visiting Legoland, though he cannot fly at the moment,” she said.
Something else the family has to look forward to is the news that Josh is to become an uncle, as his sister Steph Burns, 20, is expecting her first baby, with partner Ged Whitelock in December.
Miles for Men founder Michael said: “When I have heard what Josh has been through, you wouldn’t expect someone to ring you up and say he is going to be doing the run.
“But he is a little livewire.
“We are doing this for all generations – cancer affects all ages.”
Miles for Men is on Sunday, July 28, starting at Maritime Avenue and finishing at Seaton Cricket Club.
Last year saw 1,000 men of all ages run, walk, or jog in the event, which raised £40,000 for Cancer Research UK and this year has been rolled out to Liverpool and Newcastle.
Comedian Roy Chubby Brown will be starting this year’s event, which also features Richard Griffiths, who is battling back from a lymphoma.
Visit www.milesformen.co.uk to register.
To sponsor Josh, visit www.joshdawson.co.uk or text MILE96 to 70070 stating the amount of £1 or more.