A South Shields man who survived after being hit by a bus is set to tackle his second Great North Run in aid of a lifeline charity.
James Fleming, 20, suffered severe head injuries in the accident in 2009 and despite doctors predicting he would never walk or talk again, he has made an incredible recovery and is lacing up his trainers for the UK’s biggest half marathon. James will be attempting to beat his previous record time of 1hr 48mins and aims to raise £500 for The Sick Children’s Trust.
The charity, which supports families with seriously ill children is hospital runs ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country.
James’ parents, Tracy and Ken were supported at Crawford House in Newcastle when he was rushed to the specialist Royal Victoria Infirmary following the horrific accident.
Despite a grim prognosis, with the help of intense physiotherapy and speech therapy, James has overcome the challenges set against him and leads a mostly independent life.
He is now a qualified lifeguard, fitness instructor and is an employee at Curry’s PC world.
James, who ran the Great North Run for the first time in 2016, raising £1200 for The Sick Children’s Trust, said: “I feel more confident this time round and I’m aiming to complete the race in 1h 35mins.
“I’m really looking forward to fundraising for The Sick Children’s Trust again.
“The charity means so much to me and my parents and I want to continue to support those that helped my family at a difficult time.”
The Sick Children’s Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations to keep its ‘Homes from Home’ running.
Every year the charity supports around 4,000 families with seriously ill children in hospital, and it cost £30 to provide a family with accommodation for one night.
James’ mum Tracy, 53, works for Marks and Spencer at Silverlink and nominated The Sick Children’s Trust as the store’s ‘Charity of the Year’.
She said: “When your child is in hospital, it is a dreadful time and you don’t want to leave your children for even a second.
“You want to be with them at their bedside 24/7. I can’t emphasise enough how important the support from The Sick Children’s Trust was to our family and James’ recovery.
“It provided us somewhere to live close by, and made life easier.
“This charity is such a worthwhile cause.
“Not enough people are aware of their work, which is self-funded.
“You can never know when you’re going to need help like that.
“The size of donation doesn’t matter, big or small - every little helps.
“As James has got older, we have talked more about the role Crawford House played in his recovery which is why he wants to support the charity again.
“He wouldn’t have considered running it for another charity.”
Those wanting to donate towards James’ fund-raising can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-fleming14
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, go to http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/