A 17-year-old from Bury has completed a 5k-a-day running streak during his twin brother's cancer treatment, raising thousands of pounds for the charity Brain Tumour Research.

Sixth former Alex Pullan did a daily 20 to 30-minute run throughout his brother Matthew’s six-week radiotherapy treatment, which began on 17 August 2020, at The Christie in Manchester.

Matthew, a student at Bury College, was first diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour when he was just a toddler. The tumour was successfully operated on and Matthew went through a gruelling 30 sessions of radiotherapy at the age of three. He recovered well and has enjoyed several years of stable MRI scans, which confirmed no sign of any remaining tumour.

His brother Alex said: “In June we noticed Matthew was getting really clumsy and he was feeling dizzy, so he went to talk to his medical team, who sent him for a precautionary scan.

"We were all gobsmacked when they found a new 4cm by 4cm brain tumour near the last site of the removed tumour in the cerebellum part of his brain.”

“Matthew and I are really close. We have a very special twin bond. Apparently, when he was operated on as a toddler, at exactly the time he was given anaesthetic before his surgery, I took myself into a corner at nursery and fell asleep. During his recent surgery I had a headache all day and was really tired until around 7pm, which was the time he was woken up. It was really weird.

“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 – the longest we’ve ever spent apart from one another.”

Alex completed a total of 360km over 44 days during his running streak.

Alex also galvanised a community of supporters to join him, when he launched #MilesForMatthew. The virtual relay run called for people to donate £5 to join in and help him reach a combined distance of 874 miles, the length of the UK. The virtual runners clocked up more than one thousand miles and added £800 to the fundraising total, which currently stands at a staggering £13,000.

Matthew’s next MRI scan is in December, the results of which will determine the next steps for his treatment. He is continuing to have chemotherapy, to try and shrink the remaining tumour as much as possible.

Matthew said: “I don’t think it has got easier, I’ve just adapted. The smells and colours still invade my nose and eyes but I’m used to it now. I have had 60 rounds of radiotherapy in my life. Before I started this time, I got really anxious. The specialist nurse gave me aromatherapy sticks to sniff when I am going in for the treatment; it calms me down and makes the smell of bleach in the room easier to deal with.”

To make a donation, visit the boys’ fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alexpullan