A student nurse is taking on the Great North Run in memory of her best friend.
Kathleen Bancroft, of West Harton, South Shields, is raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Her best pal Kayleigh Barras lost her life to the inherited condition that causes mucus to gather in the lungs, when she was just 20.
After fighting for her life in intensive care, Kayleigh sadly died on December 27, last year.
Kathleen, 21, said: “I moved here from Nottingham when I was starting Year 7 and Kayleigh was the first friend I made at school.
“My mam Carol Lee is from here and I moved back with her and went to Brinkburn. Kayleigh and I were just really similar – she was my best friend.”
Kayleigh was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when the girls were 12 and Kathleen said it was tough watching her friend go through what she did.
She said: “She’d been ill quite a lot and she just phoned me one day and told me she had cystic fibrosis, but neither of us knew what it was. I sat with her in the hospital reading about it. It was tough seeing her go through that, and I want to raise awareness now.”
She added: “A couple of my friends said they were going to do the Great North Run for Kayleigh, but I never exercised and thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.
“I decided to do 20 challenges instead, but have built up some fitness now so decided to sign up. I’m nervous but everyone says the atmosphere is amazing so I’m excited too. I hope Kayleigh would be proud of me.”
To sponsor Kathleen, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for ‘Kathleen Bancroft’.