Marie Johnson, who is running the Great North Run for North East Ambulance Service in memory of her nephew, Stan

Ambulance running team reaches for GNR fundraising target

NEAS staff and former patient's relatives don their trainers for Trust's charitable fund

A team of four will be taking to the streets this weekend with two goals in mind at this year’s Great North Run.

The four are the first to run for the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund and will be aiming to beat their personal best time whilst raising as much money as possible for the charity.

Amongst the four are two members of NEAS staff, Andrew Woods and Karen Pescod, along with Chris Ash and working mum Marie Johnson, who hold the charity close to their heart.

Marie and Chris decided the Great North Run was their goal to raise funds following the loss of their special friend and nephew. 

Known fondly as ‘Stan the Man’, Paul Callan, died in 2016 at the scene of a motorbike accident after he was treated by paramedics from NEAS.  Marie and Chris are amongst family and friends who have been passionate about giving something back to those who tried to save his life. 

A children’s cancer nurse and mother of three, Marie has never run the event before.  She explains: “Stan was a beautiful 21 year old fun loving son, brother, grandson, cousin, uncle and the best friend to many. The day he died changed our lives forever. 

"The first response paramedics were on the seen within 4 minutes, including various crew members and also an off duty doctor. The team tried so hard, they never gave up, they worked a very long time at the scene. Stan was then transferred to the RVI and the paramedics remained with the family supporting us with full dignity and respect. 

“The outcome was heart breaking. However, all the crews and doctors who attended were amazing and they touched our hearts. Everything the paramedics did was effortless in trying to save Stan. The crews had to go home that night having seen what they had seen, they must have to deal with things like this every day. They just didn’t give up once and we are so thankful for their support and help and for this reason, with Stan in our hearts, we want to raise as much money as possible for this charity.”

NEAS set up the Charitable Fund to give those people who want to make a gesture of thanks to the service the opportunity to make a donation. The Fund aims to give back to the local community by recruiting more volunteers and purchasing additional equipment in the community such as defibrillators. By making a donation, people support NEAS to improve urgent and emergency care across the North East.

Director of quality and safety for the Trust, Joanne Baxter, said: “NEAS employs more than 2,600 staff and serves a population of 2.7 million across the north east region. It provides urgent and emergency care to people often at their most vulnerable times and in great need. Our employees and volunteers are dedicated people that deal with families and patients at times of real crisis.

"It is important we support staff through the charity which seeks to support volunteers, provide desperately needed community defibrillators in order to save lives and encourage young people to get involved with emergency care services. We are delighted that Marie and Chris and some of our own staff are running for the charity in the Great North Run.”

Karen Pescod, who is a paramedic, added: “It means a lot to me to represent NEAS as one of the first groups of people to run for the organisation. It is also a first for me to do the Great North Run and I’m slightly nervous, although I have ran other half marathons. Training has been a bit slow due to a foot injury but it is much improved now. I would say to other people wanting to get involved in the Charitable Fund to leave enough time to get your donations together and use forums to promote the funding page.”

Twenty-three year old Chris, from Denton Burn, wants to encourage as many people to donate to keep him and his team motivated along the route. He added: “Training for the Great North Run has been tough but has been going well. I’ve been doing a long run twice a week which were about 10 miles long. I’ve also been swimming a lot and riding out on the bike for extra fitness, as well as hill sprints. 

"I’ve always wanted to do the Great North Run and to do it in memory of Stan means we can give back to the North East Ambulance Service for trying to save his life. As they are public funded, it means even more to me to be able to help out by raising money.  We are a big group of friends and I speak on behalf of all of us about Stan; he was a great mate and is a big loss in our circle of friends.”

If you want to learn more about Stan or are interested in donating to the online page, please follow this link:

You can also view the Facebook group set up by Marie in memory of Stan:

To make a general donation to the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund, please follow this link: /get-involved/making-a-donation.aspx

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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