North East Brain Tumour Survivors take on Hadrian’s Wall challenge in bid to raise £50K
Three men from the North East, who have all been diagnosed with aggressive and incurable brain tumours, set out today (24th April) to walk Hadrian’s Wall to raise £50,000 to help fund research into the disease.
The intrepid trio started from Bowness-in-Solway to trek 84 miles along the length of Hadrian’s Wall with the aim of finishing on 2nd May at Wallsend. They hope to raise awareness of this devastating disease, including the fact that the North East has the highest rate of brain tumours diagnosed per 100,000 of the population in England, with 19.0 cases per 100,000 diagnosed in 2014 – 2.3 more cases than the national average.
Ian Hardy, 52, from Gateshead, a former art teacher, Graydon Downs, 39, a commercial manager who lives in Sunderland and Newcastle boxer Dan Howard, 25, now a personal trainer, were all diagnosed more than five years ago with grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4) brain tumours – the same type of brain cancer which Labour peer Tessa Jowell was diagnosed with last year.
The average life expectancy for this form of brain tumour is 12-18 months. Less than 20% of brain tumour patients survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.
The tenacious trio, defying the odds of survival, have launched their own charity – The Three Tumours – to raise funds to help research into brain tumours.
Graydon 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.
“We are delighted to be joined in our challenge by fellow survivor Richard Stewart, 63, from Seaton Sluice, near Whitley Bay, who was diagnosed with a GBM4 nearly three years ago. We have all had to learn to live with ongoing issues as a result of our brain tumours, ranging from the risk of having another seizure to balance, sight and speech problems, or in Dan’s case losing the use of his right side. So it’s not surprising that we are very grateful that Vincent McCluskey, who works for the Scottish Ambulance Service and is a qualified paramedic, has chosen to accompany us on the long trek!
“Walking 84 miles along Hadrian’s Wall over the course of a week might not sound that hard-core to serious athletes, but some days we struggle to walk 20 metres as a result of our condition!
“We want to raise as much money as possible and would love to smash the £50,000 target. Much more funding is needed for research to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure. The cash raised will be donated to three national charities: Brain Tumour Research, The Brain Tumour Charity and brainstrust.”
Ian commented: “I have had brain cancer for the last seven years and been unable to work all that time. For the last five years, my time has been dedicated to numerous charities, including local community work and working with people affected by strokes.
“The Three Tumours gives us a chance to send a sense of hope and positivity to others who may be affected themselves or who have a loved one affected by a brain tumour/brain cancer.”
For more information or to donate, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/thethreetumours
Notes to Editors
The Three Tumours was set up by Ian Hardy, Graydon Downs and Dan Howard.
- In October 2012, Graydon Downs, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, having spent several months visiting doctors to complain of nausea, dizziness and a lack of concentration. He was originally told the tumour was probably a GBM, grade 2, and would probably make a full recovery after a treatment.He was flown back from the USA where he had been working and interpretation of a further scan indicated it was likely to be a GBM, grade 4.
- Ian Hardy, 52, is married with four daughters. He previously worked for 25 years as the head of art at schools around the North East. At the age of 45 he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer GBM4 and was given 12–14 months to live.
- Dan Howard was diagnosed with a GBM4 when he was 19.He had five brain operations and intense radiotherapy. He survived and has been stable for nearly six years. He started his own personal training business, Howard Fitness, and has developed a loyal client base. In addition, he coaches young boxers and helps other cancer patients get on with their lives.
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 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 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
- 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.