Sunderland businesses and running groups help raise more than £5,000 for the wife of a former Hartlepool United boss

A Sunderland woman has raised more than £5,000, with the help of local businesses and running groups, for her friend who has a rare and inoperable brain tumour.

Saturday, 4th June 2022, 3:06 pm

Kathryn Forte, from High Barnes, wanted to raise £5,000 for her friend Gemma Lee, to help with treatment costs for a trial drug from Germany.

Mum-of-two Gemma, 41, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in January 2019 and the treatment means that she is now more than 36 months into a 12-month prognosis.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Kathryn (left) with Gemma Lee (middle) and Jules Baxter.

Kathryn managed to get businesses in Sunderland to sponsor each of the runs as she aimed for the £5,000 target, and was also supported in her challenge by running groups.

She said: “I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to help Gemma so with May being Brain Cancer Awareness Month, plus the weather being a bit better and lighter nights, it felt like the right time to do it.

"I was blown away by the amount of support that I received throughout the challenge and I never did a run alone, there was always someone with me.

"I think I had about six hours [of] sleep over the 48 hour period however Gemma spoke to me halfway through to say that it was really helping her mentally which helped to spur me on.

Kathryn with a group of runners from Sunderland who helped her with her 4x4x48 challenge to raise £5,000 for her friend Gemma Lee.

"There was never a question about me not completing it and thankfully it went remarkably well.”

Read More

Read More
Tyne and Wear firefighters donate equipment provided in the aftermath of 9/11 to...

Gemma, who is from Middlesbrough and the wife of former Hartlepool United boss Graeme Lee, said how important the money is to allow her to continue with treatment.

She added: “My stomach just flipped when Kathryn told me the amount that had been raised, I didn’t expect anywhere near that much to be raised.

"The money is absolutely vital to me, I can’t really put into words how important this actually is – it is truly life and death and unfortunately that comes down to money.

"Without the treatment then I definitely wouldn’t be here, it is essential to my survival.”

You can view and donate to the fundraising page by clicking here.