Brave six-year-old to tackle Santa Dash amid brain tumour fight

The popular festive fun run in Glasgow will return for the first time since the Covid pandemic.

Brave six-year-old to take part in Glasgow Santa Dash after year of fighting aggressive brain tumour Glasgow City Council

A brave six-year-old who has an aggressive brain tumour has unveiled the new t-shirt designs for Glasgow’s charity Santa Dash.

Cole Park, from Kirkintilloch, underwent major brain surgery and intensive courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy after doctors discovered he had a brain tumour in March this year.

The youngster spent several months at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre with his mum, Michelle Barrie, who says the staff became like family as visiting was restricted due to Covid.

Michelle, 37, and Cole’s aunt, Lisa Park, 33, are now planning to run Glasgow’s Santa Dash to raise funds for the charity, pushing Cole in his wheelchair if he’s well enough on the day.

Cole, who is now continuing his treatment at home, visited Glasgow Green on Wednesday along with his mum and aunt to inspect the course and meet the charity’s mascot Bella the Bee. The family fun run will take place for the first time in three years on Sunday, December 11, with a route around Glasgow Green and reusable t-shirts for runners.

The new t-shirt, which is more environmentally friendly than the previous single-use Santa suits, feature a belt and button design on the front and are included in the run’s registration fee of £15 for adults and £5 for young people under the age of 16.

Michelle, who shaved off her hair in sympathy with her son while he underwent treatment, said: “Lisa and I want to run the Santa Dash to raise sponsorship for Beatson Cancer Charity in recognition of everything the hospital has done for Cole.

“I can’t praise the surgeons and staff at the Beatson highly enough. Everyone is amazing. They kept me going when I was struggling on a bad day and became like family.

Cole with his mum, Michelle (left), his aunt Lisa in Glasgow Green where the run will take place.Glasgow City Council

“Every Friday, Cole got to drive a wee police car into his radiotherapy sessions and he loved that. And they gave me vouchers for the café while I waited for him to finish his treatment. When he was discharged from hospital, the staff threw him a wee party. He misses them all so much.”

Runners who register to take part in the festive family fun run can raise sponsorship for any chosen charity. 

Any profits from the Glasgow City Council run event will be split between Beatson Cancer Charity and the Lord Provost’s Children’s Fund.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Jacqueline McLaren, said: “The Santa Dash is such a happy uplifting event which raises funds for good causes in the run up to Christmas. Everyone, like Cole’s mum, will want to raise funds for a charity which is close to their own heart. And for the first time in three years, everyone can physically get together to take part in the festive run while showing their support for charities doing amazing work.

“I’m really looking forward to the big day and encourage anyone who is interested in taking part to register as soon as possible as places are filling up fast!”

The Santa Dash has raised more than £350,000 for various charities since it started in 2006.

Registration for this year’s event closes on December 9.