Losing best friend to a brain tumour inspires marathon challenge
After losing his closest friend to a brain tumour, one Bromley-by-Bow resident is taking part in this year’s London Marathon to raise funds for research into the disease.
Daniel Walker, 32, who has run the Hackney half-marathon for the last two years, decided that it was time to up his game and take on a greater challenge in memory of his best friend, Darel Bryan, who lived beside Victoria Park in Bow before he tragically passed away with a brain tumour in February 2016, aged just 34.
On Sunday 22nd April 2018, Dan will be pounding the streets of the capital to raise money for the pioneering charity Brain Tumour Research, which is funding world-leading research to find a cure for the disease. Dan has set himself a target of raising £3,500 for the charity.
Darel, an otherwise very fit and healthy 33-year-old, was diagnosed with several tumours after he experienced a seizure at work. A biopsy confirmed that the tumours were grade 4, meaning cancerous. Because of their location, surgery wasn’t initially considered suitable, so Darel underwent gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment in an attempt to control the tumours.
Dan said: “We were all shocked when we heard the news that Darel had brain tumours. He was so fit and strong – a keen football player, who played with me in the East London FC team in the Sunday Hackney Marshes league. So why would he get a tumour? There is little known about this disease, so it’s important to me to do what I can and help raise funds for research.
“Darel and I were best friends and my girlfriend Kiri Ward and Darel’s partner Natalie Overs, who set up the Darel Bryan Foundation to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research, are also best friends. The four of us jokingly called ourselves “The Dream Team” and we used to get together regularly for dinner dates and even went on holidays together. Darel and I often spoke about what our weddings and stag dos would be like. He would definitely have been my best man.
“Kiri and I visited Darel regularly when he was in hospital and during his last few weeks at St Joseph’s hospice. What he had to go through was so awful, yet I never heard him complain once during the fifteen months he battled with brain cancer. He is a constant inspiration to me every day.”
Natalie said: “Darel endured six weeks of radiotherapy, 12 months of five different chemotherapies, two surgeries, over five months of hospital stays and every alternative and natural treatment we could lay our hands on, but his battle was never one he was going to win.
“I am extremely grateful to Dan for his continuing support and for taking on the London Marathon in Darel’s name.”
Janice Wright, Community Fundraising Manager 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. Experiences like Darel’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are extremely grateful to Dan for his support and are appealing for runners who have a ballot place for the marathon to join him on Team Brain Tumour Research by nominating us as their chosen charity for 2018. Together we will find a cure.”
To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Dan’s JustGiving page go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Daniel-Walker19 and for more information on applying for one of Brain Tumour Research’s remaining London Marathon places go to www.braintumourresearch.org
For further information, please contact: Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 07811 068357 or email@example.com
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 are building a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, £5.5 million was raised towards research and support during 2016.
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 charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016. Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.
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 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.