A TEENAGER took on the Great North Run to raise money for research into the disease which claimed the life of her best friend.

Maia Gray (18), ran Sunday’s half marathon in memory of Rhya Story, who died from an aggressive, inoperable brain tumour in 2015, at the age of just 15.

The pair were pupils at Haydon Bridge High School. Maia, who is now studying biology at Newcastle College, was set to exceed her target of raising £500 in aid of Brain Tumour Research.

She said: “My day was made easier, but also more emotional, knowing I had a special someone pushing me on the whole way. My grandma, aunty and mum all completed the race previously, so that was extra motivation and they were there on the day to cheer me on.”

Maia was aiming for a time of three and a half hours and but managed it in just under 2hrs 50m.

She added: “More needs to be done to raise awareness of brain tumours, as well as challenging the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more in research into the disease.

“My aunty has also been treated for a brain tumour but is thankfully now in remission. Too many people are affected by this cruel condition, and it’s a cause close to my heart.”

Rhya, who was from Greenhead, was a keen footballer and played for Haltwhistle United U15.

Her tragic story generated support from across the footballing world, with everyone from Alan Shearer to players from AC Milan, Newcastle United and Rangers backing the #HEART4RHYA hashtag, with messages of comfort and encouragement.

To donate via Maia’s page, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maia-gray.