A dad from Newcastle has taken on the 13.1 mile half marathon through Tyneside on Sunday 09 September for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and Stephen Armstrong decided to take on the Simplyhealth Great North Run, the biggest half marathon in the world, for Anthony Nolan because his two year old son was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.
In November 2017, Kirsty and Stephen Armstrong were given the news their toddler son Jacob had aplastic anaemia, a rare blood disorder which is diagnosed in between 30 and 40 children each year.
Jacob is currently being treated at Great North Children’s Hospital where he has received ‘fantastic care’. After a week in hospital Jacob was discharged after receiving two blood transfutions. He is currently doing well but may need a stem cell transplant: cells from a healthy person, with the same tissue type, to replace and repair his own damaged cells.
Stephen, 31, who ran with his wife and a team of 19 friends, says, “My motivation for running the Great North Run for Anthony Nolan is my son, Jacob. Anthony Nolan found him a perfect match if he ever needs a stem cell transplant – the work they do is fantastic.
‘I decided on the Great North Run as it’s my hometown and it’s such an iconic challenge.’
He added: ‘I’m proud to wear the colours of Anthony Nolan as it’s about raising awareness and getting more people on the stem cell register’
Every day, five people start searching for a stranger to save their life. Anthony Nolan finds and matches donors, of the correct tissue types, with patients with blood cancers and disorders who need lifesaving stem cell transplants giving them a second chance of life.
Anthony Nolan also carries out pioneering research to increase the success of stem cell transplants, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.
Kirsty Mooney, Head of Events and Community at Anthony Nolan, said: “We are delighted that Stephen has run the Great North Run for us this year. Step by step, mile by mile, our team will be saving lives. The funds they raised will enable us to recruit potential stem cell donors to the Anthony Nolan register – any one of whom could give a second chance of life for someone with blood cancer.”
You can sponsor Stephen at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jacobsjourney2 . Find out more about fundraising for Anthony Nolan by visiting www.anthonynolan.org/fundraising