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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Month-long fundraiser in memory of “super dad”

An amazing nine-year-old is taking on a month-long fundraising challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research in memory of her dad.

Sophie Willis is kicking off her unique “44 / Forty-four” fundraiser today. Throughout June, she will complete 44 physical, mental, creative and wellbeing challenges and she’ll be doing 44 repetitions (or seconds, minutes etc.) of each one. Her fundraising comes after her dad Jason Willis died aged 44, following a 22-month battle with a brain tumour.

Jason was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in January 2019. Following brain surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in January 2020, he received the heartbreaking news that his aggressive tumour had continued to grow. He died on 26th October 2020, leaving his wife Jen and their two young daughters, Sophie and Harriet, three.

Jen, who is setting up a Fundraising Group in Jason’s name, said: “The challenges have been designed to reflect some of the things Jason liked; physics, maths, music, pool, beatboxing, laughing and kindness. For example, she’ll be doing 44 minutes of stargazing, singing 44 seconds of a track by the UK soul group Loose Ends and telling 44 jokes. Sophie was a real ‘Daddy’s girl’. I used to call them ‘partners in crime’. She misses him dearly. We all do.”

Sophie said: “I am doing this because my dad was important and I really miss him. He wasn’t just any dad; he was a super dad and I was proud to have him as my dad. My dad was cool. He would teach me loads of things and I would always listen.

“He will always be in my heart forever. I can just remember staring at the stars with him. He would swing me in the air and always smile at me. My dad’s spirit will always be close to me even if we go on holiday, he will come with us. I love my super dad all the way to the moon and back.”

To find out more about Sophie’s 44 challenges and donate to her JustGiving page, please click here.

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