A group of 135 school pupils will take part in the Junior Great North Run to raise money in honour of their friend.
The young people, from Whickham in Gateshead, are hoping their army of runners can raise thousands for the charity CLIC Sargent which is supporting nine-year-old Oliver Roberts and his family.
Oliver is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour and his friend hope that by running in the Junior Great North Run next month they can raise money in his honour.
Known as Oliver’s Army, the schoolchildren are in training for the 4km course and hope to raise thousands of the charity, which is the UK’s leading charity for children and young people with cancer, and their families.
Oliver, of Whickham in Gateshead, was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010 at the age of just four. Although Oliver’s tumour was successfully treated, his cancer returned in January this year and he has since undergone further surgery and chemotherapy at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Mum Karen said: “Our first contact with CLIC Sargent was when Lynn from the charity approached us in the clinic and began by talking about the diagnosis and treatment in a way we all could understand.
“She’s always been so human and calm. She helped us make sure Oliver’s education would stay on track, discussed possible counselling for Oliver’s brothers and made sure we were okay financially. She looked after the whole family.
“If I ever feel a bit wobbly or sad, she’s always there for a chat. Having someone there that you can talk to is so important when your child is going through treatment.
“We couldn’t thank CLIC Sargent enough, so it’s great to know that every penny of the money raised by Oliver’s Army will help them carry on offering vital support to children and young people with cancer, and their families.”
The woman behind the organisation of Oliver’s Army is family friend Donna Owens, whose son Taylor is Oliver’s best friend.
She said: “Following Oliver’s operation his whole school wanted to show their support, so one of his classmates suggested the Junior Great North Run. From there it just grew and grew.
“We’ve been running training sessions once a week, for parents and their children. It’s a chance for both parents and children to get fit and have fun, and at the same time show how much love and support there is for Oliver and his family.”
Donna’s eldest son Morgan, 14, has also recruited some of his friends for the run who knew Oliver, who won a Brave Hearts Award in 2011, through the buddy system at their primary school.
Lindsay Kay, CLIC Sargent fundraising manager in the North East, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that the children in Oliver’s Army have decided to come together in honour of Oliver and fundraise for CLIC Sargent. Every penny they raise will go towards the vital support CLIC Sargent provides for children and young people, like Oliver, living with cancer.”
To sponsor Oliver’s Army please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/raiseforollie