Meningitis Factfile

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A nurse will tackle the Great North Run to mark the third anniversary of losing her teenage son to meningitis.

Lesley Tanton, from Flore, will run the second largest half-marathon in the world three years after her 14-year-old son Mark first became ill.

Since that fateful day, Mrs Tanton, her husband John and son Paul, 22, have worked tirelessly to raise more than £30,000 to help Meningitis UK eradicate the deadly disease.

Mrs Tanton said: “Meningitis is like a thunderbolt – it comes straight out of the blue and changes the lives of those left behind.

“We were a happy family and then, in the space of a few hours, felt complete devastation.

“Mark was the picture of health – he was a strong, sturdy lad and to think an infection would strike him down as quickly as it did is just awful.”

Now, the 48-year-old is hoping to boost the total by lacing up for the 13.1-mile run on Sunday, September 15.

Mrs Tanton got a taste for running after taking part in a five-mile Santa fun run for Meningitis UK and decided to up the ante and go for a half marathon.

She said: “The marathon takes place round about the third anniversary of Mark’s death and that’s what spurred me on to take part.

“I run around Flore, Great Brington, along the Grand Union Canal path and country lanes – I like to be out on my own and think about things.

“I’m up to about 10 or 11 miles, there are a few small hills where I run so it should be good practice for the Great North Run.

“The heat is proving a problem at the moment because I’m finding it difficult to find a time cool enough to train.”

If you would like to sponsor Lesley visit Lesley’s+Great+North+Run +2013/ showFund/.