AN inspirational teenager is asking people to brave the cold this Christmas.
Alex Turner was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, an uncommon type of cancer that develops inside the tissue of the voice box, in October.
The 15-year-old, of Westoe Road, South Shields, set herself a £50,000 fundraising target for the Teenage Cancer Trust to help others like herself.
So far, the St Wilfrid’s RC College pupil has pulled in around £13,000 with the help of her friends, family, and kind strangers.
Now, she’s asking people to brave the icy chill of the North Sea in the Boxing Day Dip.
The teenager is hoping people will sign up to take part in the festive tradition at Mango’s Waters Edge, in South Foreshore, South Shields, on Friday, December 26.
The money raised will go towards Alex’s fundraising target for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity which helps young people with the disease and their families.
Alex’s dad, Mark Purvis, said: “It’s for a great cause. For a young girl to set up a charity fundraising effort and for it to take off the way this has, is just unbelievable.
“We just want to carry on the same way, and are hoping that people will be brave enough to take part in the Boxing Day Dip, and help Alex reach her target.”
Alex has just started chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat her cancer.
The disease is thought to affect just one in every 100,000 people, and is rare in those under 40, with most cases affecting people aged 60 or over.
Mark, 41, a business development and recruitment manager, added: “She’s doing fantastic. The treatment is starting to take its toll on her a bit though.
“She’s starting to get sores and blisters on her mouth and is using mouthwash about 10 times a day to keep on top of them, but the attitude she has towards it is brilliant.
“Me, her mum Joanne, and everyone have just been blown away by how well she’s taken everything that’s been thrown at her.
“We’re all just so proud of her, and it’s unbelievable the way that people have got behind her. I’ve had people stop me in the street to say they know someone who’s having an event or has baked cakes to sell – it’s just brilliant.
“Suzanne Stuart’s Art of Dance school had their Christmas presentation this weekend and raised £300, someone else held a coffee morning and raised £360, a team of kids did a sponsored run, and so many people are doing things to help Alex raise the money.
“It’s just amazing to see.”
Alex has recruited her friends and family to help with her fundraising. They’ve dubbed themselves Alex’s Angels.
To find out how to help, or sign up to do the Boxing Day Dip, search for Alex’s Angels on Facebook and Twitter, go to www.justgiving.com/alexandra-turner1, or email firstname.lastname@example.org