A devoted dad is taking on the Great North Run in memory of his son.
Chris Cookson says his son Charlie will be with him the whole way as he tackles the 13.1-mile run, on Sunday, September 11.
The 37-year-old, of Simonside, is raising cash for the Charlie Cookson Foundation, which he set up alongside wife Sarah, 41, after their son’s tragic death.
Charlie lost his life, aged two-and-a-half, after battling a number of serious illnesses, including meningitis and septicaemia.
He underwent several operations in his short life and inspired his parents to set up a foundation supporting people with seriously ill children.
Chris said: “I’m feeling really good about the run. I’ve just been out and ran 13.2 miles and I felt really good afterwards so I’m definitely ready for it.
“I did it for the first time last year and really struggled on the John Reid Road. I had to stop five times along the way, but this year I’ve got a grudge to settle with it and that’s not going to happen.
“The atmosphere at that part of the run really keeps you going, and Charlie will be there with me too. I’ll have a picture of him pinned to my shoulder so he’ll be running with me.”
Chris said the atmosphere and support from the crowd will keep him going, but nothing will spur him on as much as thinking about his beloved Charlie.
He added: “The charity is so important to me and Sarah, it’s the most important thing to us really.
“Charlie overcame so much and fought so hard all through his life. He constantly defied the doctors and just kept on fighting. If he can go through all of that, then I can run 13.1 miles – it’s nothing in comparison. Thinking of that and how the money can help other families will see me through.”
To sponsor Chris, to go uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for ‘Christopher Cookson’. Alternatively, send money or a cheque to The Charlie Cookson Foundation, South Tyneside Business Works, Office 204, Henry Robson Way, South Shields, NE33 1RF.