A SCHOOLBOY who discovered he had a brain tumour after an eye test is getting plenty of support to help him through his ordeal.
And none more so than from his friend’s mum Anne Ballantyne, who is taking on the Great North Run in his honour.
Karl Carter was urged to go for an eye test in November by his doctor after complaining about severe headaches.
Morpeth optometrist Kevin Gray, who works at Robert Green and Partners in Bridge Street, spotted unusual swelling on Karl’s optic nerve and referred him to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.
Within a week a tumour had been diagnosed and removed, but Karl still had to undergo more gruelling treatment, with intensive 30-day radiotherapy followed by months of chemotherapy that will finally end in September.
Karl, who lives in Castle Close, Morpeth, said: “It turned out that I had two tumours. One started off as low grade, but it eventually developed into a high grade glioma so the treatment was a lot more intensive than we first thought. It was quite a shock.
“It has been difficult trying to fit school and everything else in, and I haven’t been able to make plans to meet up with friends because you don’t know when you will have a bad day.”
The ordeal has taken its toll on the 16-year-old and his family, but they have received lots of support and children’s cancer charity Clic Sargent arranged a week’s respite break.
Now Mrs Ballantyne, whose son Michael is Karl’s best friend, will take part in the Great North Run to raise funds for the charity.
She said: “I just feel so helpless for Karl. There is nothing I can do to help him so this is the only thing I can do.”
The Royal Mail Special Events Planner is well accustomed to the run having completed it five times for various charities, including Cash 4 Kids and Cancer Research UK.
She hopes to raise £1,000 for Clic Sargent and Royal Mail will match fund whatever she secures up to £200.
“I run every morning before I go to work and at weekends. For the Great North Run I’ll have to do a 10-mile run in preparation, but normally I do six miles around Morpeth. I love it,” she said.
“I’m sure I’ll get lots of money in because everybody knows somebody who has had cancer.”
Karl’s Mum Tracey is grateful for the support.
She said: “We were going through a tough time and someone from the RVI said we could do with a break away to refresh our minds so it was organised by Clic Sargent.
“We went to Scotland for a week and it was gorgeous. Karl came back a different lad, it was fantastic.
“Now this will raise money for other families who are going through even worse a nightmare than we are.
“The support we have had from people has been amazing We have had so many messages and texts.”
She added: “I will never ever forget the optician who found the tumour. That man saved my son’s life.”
To support Mrs Ballantyne visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/AnneBallantyne