Sisters bereaved by brain tumour take on motorsport challenge
A dad-of-three, who died just weeks after his brain tumour diagnosis, has been remembered by his daughters, who took part in a motorsport challenge.
Grace Gordon, 31, and Faith Zeal, 27, from Gomshall, Surrey, were among 170 competitors taking part in the Shere Hill Climb, burning rubber in the same car that their dad, Stephen Zeal, raced in, an Austin Seven Sport. The event, which took place on Sunday 2nd September, is one of the UK’s most successful hill climb races – a type of motorsport where drivers compete to complete an uphill course – and the sisters raised over £2,500 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they 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.
Stephen, a marketing director from Dorking, was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma – a highly aggressive type of brain tumour – after suffering from memory loss, dizziness and headaches in June 2018. He was admitted to Epsom General Hospital but, too ill to have any treatment, tragically died just four weeks later, aged 62. He left his wife Julianna and young son Max, who he lived with in Effingham, and his two elder daughters Grace and Faith.
Grace, a PR account director, who lives in Streatham, London, said: “Faith and I felt a mixture of nerves, excitement, intrepidation but ultimately pride in completing the race. Dad adored his cars and loved taking part in Shere Hill Climb on his behalf. When we realised he would not be around for the event this year, Faith asked if she could have permission to race for him and, of course, he said yes.
“We want to ensure his passion continues to inspire us in life and this is just first part of that journey for us. Losing Dad so quickly was utterly devastating for our family – combining fundraising with such an iconic family event has given us something positive to focus on which has helped us a huge amount. We know he would want his car 'Nelly' to get up that hill and we made sure that happened!”
Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful for Grace and Faith’s support and we hope that their unique challenge inspires others to fundraise for this vital cause. Stephen’s story reminds us that less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. We cannot allow this situation to continue.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research, via Grace and Faith’s JustGiving page, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/faith-zeal
For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.
We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.
We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.
We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the basic research groundwork needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.
The Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT). We are supporting the crucial APPGBT 2018 Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours and will publish their report in the autumn. We are also a key influencer in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.
Key statistics on brain tumours:
- Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
- Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
- Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
- In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
- Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
- Brain tumours kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
- Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
- Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.