Teenager embarks on 5k-a-day challenge as identical twin has cancer treatment

A student from Bury has begun a 5k-a-day running challenge to support his identical twin as he begins treatment for brain cancer.

Alex Pullan, 17, started the daily running challenge on Monday to raise money for Brain Tumour Research for 42 days throughout brother Matthew’s radiotherapy.

Alex has raised more than £6,000 so far.

“I am extremely proud of Alex’s efforts in raising money for Brain Tumour Research,” Matthew said.

“One thing we do have in common is a love of running and while I’m not able to run at the moment, this will be the next best thing, as I follow Alex’s progress.”

Matthew, who studies at Bury College, was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour when he was three years old.

The tumour was successfully operated on and Matthew underwent radiotherapy, but another tumour was detected in June this year, with surgery in July removing 99% of it.

“Matthew and I are extremely close and it was awful having to wait for news while he was in the operating theatre for nine hours,” Alex said.

“What made it worse this time was not being able to visit, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. He stayed in hospital for six days – I don’t think we’ve ever been apart for that long before!”

Matthew has recovered from the operation, but surgeons will not be able to operate further on the tumour, with the teenager requiring radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“We are a tight-knit family and feel that we are in it together and will support each other through these difficult times,” Alex said.

“We are blown away by Alex’s dedication to fundraise in the face of such adversity and are extremely grateful for his efforts,” said Matthew Price, community development manager for the North at Brain Tumour Research.

“We’ll be cheering him on as he taken on his running challenge and we wish Matthew all the very best for his treatment.

“Matthew’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. Approximately 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year. We cannot allow this devastating situation to continue.”

To donate to Brain Tumour Research, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alexpullan