“Dad was watching over us” – siblings complete Marathon challenge for charity after losing beloved father to brain tumour
Siblings Olly and Beth George have dedicated their London Marathon challenge to their beloved dad who lost his battle with a brain tumour earlier this year.
Mark George was 59 when he passed away in January. Diagnosed with an aggressive grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in 2016, he underwent two operations plus radiotherapy and chemotherapy to try to halt its growth.
The pair initially aimed to raise £7,000 for the pioneering charity Brain Tumour Research which funds a network of Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. But, even before they put a foot over the starting line for the iconic running event on 22nd April, they had more than doubled the figure.
They had signed up to take part in the event while their dad, who worked as Facilities Manager for VINCI Facilities at Princes Royal University Hospital in Bromley, was undergoing treatment.
Olly, 27, who is area sales manager for global engineering manufacturer Gardner Denver and lives in Solihull, said: “When we first entered the marathon we had great plans for dad to be there cheering us on but, sadly, his condition deteriorated and we lost him a lot earlier than we expected. We love and miss him every day and it was extremely challenging and emotional but I am sure he was there watching over us.”
Beth, 24, works for West End Producer Sonia Friedman, as a production assistant and has worked on shows including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Dreamgirls, and Funny Girl.
Beth, had to move back to the family home in Rochester, Kent, with her parents Mark and Angela when her dad was diagnosed to help with care and support. She said: “I was absolutely terrified but thinking about dad and all of the other families who are going through what we have endured kept me going. Dad had to get through two rounds of brain surgery, all that treatment and the darkness that cancer brings so I thought the least I could do was run 26.2 miles”
This year’s marathon was official recorded as the hottest do date with temperatures reaching 24.1 C. The pair crossed the finish line together in 5 hours 41 minutes and 58 seconds.
Michael Thelwall, Head of Community Fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Beth and Olly showed the most incredible determination and commitment in memory of their father.
“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer – and more men under 45 than prostate 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. Experiences such as this family’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are extremely grateful to them and offer our congratulations to everyone who took part in this year’s event to raise money for charity.”
To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via James’s JustGiving page go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marksmatter
For further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or firstname.lastname@example.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.