Sunderland businesses and running groups help raise more than £5,000 for the wife of a former Hartlepool United boss

A Sunderland woman has raised more than £5,000, with the help of local businesses and running groups, for her friend who has a rare and inoperable brain tumour.

Saturday, 4th June 2022, 3:06 pm

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Kathryn Forte, from High Barnes, wanted to raise £5,000 for her friend Gemma Lee, to help with treatment costs for a trial drug from Germany.

Mum-of-two Gemma, 41, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in January 2019 and the treatment means that she is now more than 36 months into a 12-month prognosis.

Kathryn (left) with Gemma Lee (middle) and Jules Baxter.

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Kathryn managed to get businesses in Sunderland to sponsor each of the runs as she aimed for the £5,000 target, and was also supported in her challenge by running groups.

She said: “I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to help Gemma so with May being Brain Cancer Awareness Month, plus the weather being a bit better and lighter nights, it felt like the right time to do it.

"I was blown away by the amount of support that I received throughout the challenge and I never did a run alone, there was always someone with me.

"I think I had about six hours [of] sleep over the 48 hour period however Gemma spoke to me halfway through to say that it was really helping her mentally which helped to spur me on.

Kathryn with a group of runners from Sunderland who helped her with her 4x4x48 challenge to raise £5,000 for her friend Gemma Lee.

"There was never a question about me not completing it and thankfully it went remarkably well.”

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Gemma, who is from Middlesbrough and the wife of former Hartlepool United boss Graeme Lee, said how important the money is to allow her to continue with treatment.

She added: “My stomach just flipped when Kathryn told me the amount that had been raised, I didn’t expect anywhere near that much to be raised.

"The money is absolutely vital to me, I can’t really put into words how important this actually is – it is truly life and death and unfortunately that comes down to money.

"Without the treatment then I definitely wouldn’t be here, it is essential to my survival.”

You can view and donate to the fundraising page by clicking here.