TWO cousins whose uncle is fighting an aggressive brain tumour are taking on the Great North Run to raise money for research into the disease.

Mark Duffy, 54, from Durham, was diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) earlier this year after the sudden onset of difficulties walking and talking.

He underwent surgery and is now on chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

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Mr Duffy’s niece, Katie Clifford, a medical student, 20, and nephew Andrew Robson, 27, both from Durham, have been inspired to enter the event and aim to raise hundreds for the pioneering charity Brain Tumour Research.

They will be part of a 35-strong team raising money for the charity, which funds a network of centres of excellence where scientists are focused on improving treatments for patients and finding a cure. Each day of research costs £2,740.

Miss Clifford, of Dinsdale Drive, who is in her second year at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and hopes to specialise in emergency medicine, said: “Sadly, the outlook for my uncle is very poor and the prognosis for people with this tumour type can be as little as 12 to 18 months.

"As a medical student it is particularly hard to bear when you hear that so little funding has been invested in this devastating disease.”

Mr Robson, of Grinstead Way, said: “Sadly, the results of the biopsy which Mark had during his surgery were pretty much the worst they could be. His tumour is aggressive and malignant and the treatment he is on may give him just a few months. Our whole family is heartbroken. While the money we raise may not save Mark, it may help someone else’s child, brother, parent or uncle in the future.”

Suzanne McKenna, head of community fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful to Katie and Andrew and everyone who is sponsoring them.

"Sadly their uncle and his family are not alone in their experience. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”