A leading consultant is embarking on a charity cycle to raise vital funds for research into childhood brain conditions.
Dr Rob Forsyth, a consultant paediatrician at the region’s Great North Children’s Hospital, will begin his trip tomorrow and cycle for four days from the north to south of England to help raise awareness and funds for the Child Brain Research charity.
World-leading researchers in the region have issued a £300,000 fundraising plea as they look to develop pioneering treatments for childhood brain diseases in the North.
Dr Forsyth is a member of a six-person team leading research that is rolled out across the country.
Now the specialist is embarking on a huge drive to raise cash that could help unlock the science behind childhood brain diseases including meningitis, epilepsy and mitochondrial diseases.
It is thought that cures and treatments developed on Tyneside to boost survival rates of sufferers could also help improve the lives of thousands of youngsters.
He said: “I’m a doctor researching and treating brain diseases in children, particularly the rehabilitation of children who have had brain injuries such as strokes, brain tumours, infections or accidents.
“Every day on the ward I’m reminded of how much there is still to know about how to get the best outcomes for these children.
“I’m cycling from where I live and work on Tyneside to just outside Southampton. Although I enjoy cycling this will be the longest ride I’ve ever done but it is for an excellent charity. I want to thank everyone for their support so far.”
Some of the illnesses encountered by Dr Forsyth and his team are so rare they have not yet been medically identified.
Newcastle law firm Irwin Mitchell is sponsoring Dr Forsyth on his trip, providing cycling clothing and supporting with a series of events to help celebrate his achievement and raise further awareness.
John Davis, a specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who helps clients suffering from head and brain injuries, said: “This is an extremely worthy cause as the research they are doing is at the cutting edge of the medical profession.
“Brain injuries are life-changing and have a massive impact on the lives of the injured person and their family and friends so anything that can be done to learn more about how to help them is to be supported.
“Dr Forsyth is going out of his comfort zone in this trip but has already received so much support from the North East. We hope that others will now get behind him and give him some encouragement as he takes on the challenge.”
Dr Forsyth has already surpassed his £2,000 fundraising target but is determined to continue to raise even more for the charity.
Thousands of youngsters pass through the doors of the Great North Children’s Hospital’s neurology and specialist brain injuries unit each year.
Dr Forsyth, also a senior lecturer at Newcastle University, estimates that there are hundreds of children across the North East suffering from brain diseases.
He said that around five children in the region will suffer stroke-induced disabilities, while two suffer disability after brain tumours each year.
He also believes 10 children are admitted to intensive care each year after suffering traumatic brain injuries in car accidents and falls.
Child Brain Research was formed in 2008 and is run by children neurology doctors who work in the UK leading hospitals. It is an initiative of the British Paediatric Neurology Association. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/rob-forsyth and for more information on the charity go to www.childbrainresearch.co.uk