A WORCESTER couple who lost a cousin and a friend to brain tumours are preparing to run the London Marathon to raise funds for charity.
Ellie and Nigel Parkes, from The Hill Avenue, will take on the gruelling marathon on Sunday, April 23 to raise money for Brain Tumour Research, which helps fund a network of seven dedicated research centres whilst challenging the government to invest more in brain tumour research.
Ellie, 45, lost her cousin Edward Pearson last January to glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive and lethal type of brain tumour, leaving 11-year-old Isabelle and eight-year-old Nina without a father.
Whilst Nigel, 48, lost his friend Simon Turton to a medulloblastoma brain tumour, which was inoperable because of its position in the centre of his brain.
The 36-year-old left his then three-year-old daughter, Livy, fatherless.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to the devastating disease.
Nigel and Ellie are among more than 40 runners already signed up to Team Brain Tumour Research.
Nigel said: “Unlike Ellie who has done a marathon before and a number of half-marathons, I’ve never taken one on. We did the Silverstone half-marathon together to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research in 2014, but really cycling is more my thing.
“Having two children of our own, Louisa who is nine and Alexander, who is four, it’s heart-breaking to think of Simon’s daughter and Edward’s children losing their fathers at such a young age to this devastating disease.
“The shock of discovering that Simon and then Edward had brain tumours was horrible and to learn that nothing could be done to save them was very distressing. It’s a sad fact that brain tumours can affect anyone at any time, but no-one knows what causes them.
“Treatments are very limited, so we hope our efforts will help raise awareness of this awful and indiscriminate disease.”
Carol Robertson, community fund-raising manager for Brain Tumour Research, said:
“For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer.
“Stories like Ellie and Nigel’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We’re extremely grateful for their support and are appealing for runners who have a ballot place for the marathon to join them on Team Brain Tumour Research, by nominating us as their chosen charity for 2017.”
Visit Nigel and Ellie’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/teams/nigelellielondon2017 to donate.
Alternatively, visit www.braintumourresearch.org for more information on Brain Tumour Research.