THE plight of a former student who underwent life-saving brain surgery while wide awake has inspired school athletes old and young to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
Ex-Barnard Castle School pupil Kineta Kelsall was diagnosed with a cavanoma after complaining of headaches and numbness down one side of her body.
A brain scan revealed a mass of capillaries in her skull, some of which had bled, causing pressure on her brain.
Surgeons had to cut through her skull while she was under anaesthetic but then had to wake Kineta to ask her questions in order to stimulate her brain as they successfully removed the growth.
She said: “Life is full of the unexpected and at least I have got a story to tell. I mean, not everyone can say they’ve had brain surgery while wide awake.
“I am lucky to have a great support network and the team at Salford Royal are the best and continue to practise great work and save lives.”
Now 27, Kineta left Barnard Castle School in 2007 but her brother Rowan is still a pupil there.
As a result, the school dedicated this year’s annual Barney Bash fundraising qualifier for the traditional Barnard Run to her, raising several thousand pounds for the Brain Tumour Charity in the process.
The whole school takes part in the Barney Bash with the fastest times qualifying for the ancient Barnard Run, which this year celebrates its 124th year.
This year students welcomed a special guest athlete, ex-student Geoffrey Turnbull, who still holds the record for the senior race, which he set in 1979 with a time of 20.45 mins.
“I loved the run as a child,” said Mr Turnbull, 54, originally from Eaglescliffe and Darlington, who now lives in Hexham. The 54-year-old IT specialist is a former England and GB athlete, a sub-four minute mile runner and former Gateshead Harrier.
“I started running again a Christmas and emailed Charles Anderson, who organises the event, asking to run it again. I don’t know how I managed to set the record as it is an extremely quick time. I was really pleased with my latest time considering I’ve just started again.”
Kineta’s father Paul said: “It has been a really scary time and we realise how lucky she has been. We are always impressed by the passion, spirit and commitment of everyone at Barnard Castle School and the run will continue to have a special meaning for all of our family.”
Mr Alderson added: “It is an inspiration to see everyone running the course, particularly this year when they were joined by a running legend and raised so much in support of Kineta.”
Brain Tumour Charity community fundraiser Kerry Roe-Ely said brain tumours were a leading cause of death in young people and the donation would help fund research into causes and treatments.
She told students: “Every moment you were running it was your brain telling you to do that and by supporting the charity you are also helping raise awareness about the condition.”
The Geoffrey Turnbull Cup, Kitty Barker; The Wilford Cup, Joe Roff; The Fred Turnbull Cup, India Pentland; The Blackett Cup, Caleb Ellis; The Turnbull Shield, Eleanor Everall; The Lloyd Evans Cup, Harvey Barkes; The Ewart Tankard for Old Barnardians, Geoffrey Turnbull; The Ross Cup, Bowes House; The Junior Barnard Cup, Durham House; The Intermediate Girls House Cup, Bowes House; The Intermediate Boys’ House Cup, Durham House; The Senior Girls’ House Cup, Marwood House; The Senior Boys’ House Cup, Tees House; The Chatt Cup, Bowes House; The Barnard Cup, Tees House.