A teacher who lost her dad to a stroke is to take on the Bupa Great North Run to raise vital funds to support sufferers.
Tracy McKie, 39, from Hexham, was inspired to take part in the half marathon - which this year becomes the first mass participation running event to reach 1m finishers - in memory of her father Eddie who suffered a severe stroke in 1991, aged just 54.
“At the time of my dad’s stroke I was only 17 and knew very little about the signs of stroke,” said Tracy, a beauty therapy teacher with Barnardo’s Palmersville Training in North Tyneside, who saw her dad initially lose his eyesight, before passing away two weeks later.
“I’m keen to raise awareness about stroke and the symptoms, to encourage people to seek emergency medical treatment.
“I want to raise funds for the Stroke Association because of the incredible work the charity does to support stroke survivors and their families.”
Tracy has been training three times a week in the lead up to the Great North Run, having also completed the challenge in 2013.
“My training has been halted a little by a knee injury but I intend to keep on going and hope to beat my time from last year’s Great North Run.
“When it comes to the big day, I know I will have my dad in my mind, spurring me on.”
Janet Price, regional fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “With around 152,000 strokes a year in the UK – that’s around one every three and a half minutes - it is vital that we have people like Tracy who can raise funds for people affected by stroke.
“We’re really grateful to her for taking on this rewarding challenge and look forward to cheering her on as she speeds from Newcastle to South Shields.”
But before the big run, as a former Great North Runner, Tracy could still be in with a chance of claiming one of the 10,000 free tickets available - on a first come first served basis - for the North East’s cultural event of the year.
The Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony takes place on September 4, with a spectacular star-studded show taking over the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides.
Anyone who has ever run the Great North Run in its 33-year history is eligible for a free ticket - to apply visit www.greatrun.org/ticket_giveaway .
And if you have not taken part before then do not worry as tickets are also available to buy at www.gnrmillion.org , priced £12 for adults and £7 for children.