Cambridge man completes London Marathon after losing dad to brain tumour
Losing his dad to a brain tumour has inspired a Cambridgeshire man to complete the London Marathon to raise funds to help scientists find a cure.
Stephen Riches, aged 43, from Elsworth, was among tens of thousands of runners who took part in the world’s biggest running event on Sunday 22nd April for the charity Brain Tumour Research. His father, John Riches, passed away from an aggressive brain tumour in 2002 when Stephen was just 27.
Both Stephen’s dad and grandad, Arthur, were farmers and bred pigs and kept cattle on a mixed arable and livestock farm at Langar Farm, in Edgefield, Norfolk, for over 60 years. In May 2001 John was diagnosed with an inoperable grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a very aggressive form of brain tumour, after experiencing months of slurred speech and severe neck pain. With the tumour being inoperable he underwent radiotherapy to control its growth, however due to its destructive nature he died less than a year later, aged 58.
Stephen, an Asset Planning Process Manager for Anglian Water, said: “Representing Brain Tumour Research at the London Marathon was truly a wonderful experience and one that I will cherish. Thinking of Dad and others battling this horrible disease, together with the inspirational crowd, kept me going over the challenging last few miles.
“I lost my dad to an aggressive brain tumour when I was 27, I then lost my mum to breast cancer in 2014. Cancer is such a horrible disease and although over 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year in the UK, little is still known about the disease. Just knowing I’ve raised over £4,000 so far from this event for Brain Tumour Research is such a great feeling.”
Stephen was one of 40,000 runners taking part in the event which was started by The Queen from the grounds of Windsor Castle. It was the 38th London Marathon to take place since the first on 29th March 1981.
The money Stephen has raised will go towards the pioneering charity Brain Tumour Research which funds a network of dedicated Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.
Michael Thelwall, Head of Community Fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
“For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. Stories like John’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are extremely grateful for Stephen’s support and offer our congratulations to everyone who took part in this year’s event to raise money for charity.”
Make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Stephen’s JustGiving page.
For further information, please contact:
Lexie Jenkins at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867222 or 07591 206545 or Lexie.Jenkins@braintumourresearch.org
Notes to Editors
Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We have established a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, over £6 million was raised towards research and support during 2017.
We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The unprecedented success of our 2015 petition led to the 2016 Westminster Hall debate and Brain Tumour Research taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research with the report being published in 2018.
Key statistics on brain tumours:
- Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
- They kill more children than leukaemia
- They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
- They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
- Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
- In the UK, 16,000 people each year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour
- Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
- Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
- Incidences of and deaths from brain tumours are increasing
Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.