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Press release

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years

Widow’s 100km challenge pays tribute to husband lost to a brain tumour

Widow’s 100km challenge pays tribute to husband lost to a brain tumour

A woman has completed a gruelling endurance race in memory of her husband, who died of a brain tumour.

Heather Leggett, 51, tackled the arduous South Coast Challenge – a 100km ultra-marathon which took place on 25th-26th August. She was raising awareness and funds for the Brain Tumour Research charity after losing her husband, Jonathan Leggett, to the disease.

Jonathan, an employee share plans consultant from Littlehampton, was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma – a highly aggressive type of brain tumour – after collapsing at a football tournament and experiencing the sensation of a strange smell. He had radiotherapy and chemotherapy but sadly died in January 2017, aged 54, leaving Heather and their twins Rachel and Matthew, 25.

Heather, who lives in East Preston, near Littlehampton, said: “Jonathan’s life was full of fun, laughter and love and he was very well thought of and respected by work colleagues. Jonathan was a man of principle and integrity who has enriched our lives in so many wonderful ways. Our 25 years of marriage together was a true blessing and I feel incredibly privileged to have met and married such a wonderful man and loving father.

“Jonathan was so proud of Matthew and Rachel, as am I, and I know his values will stand them in good stead as they forge their own way in life. We all miss him dearly. Throughout his illness, Jonathan was courageous and strong and I wanted to pay tribute to his determination by completing the South Coast Challenge.”

Heather, a compliance officer, added: “I made some wonderful and lasting memories during the challenge, although it was very tough. Despite getting nasty blisters, I enjoyed seeing some of England’s finest scenery, including Beachy Head, the magnificent Seven Sisters, and the stunning views over Brighton.”

Some 2,000 challengers joined Heather at the ultra-marathon, which began in Eastbourne and covered a coastal route along the South Downs Way. The walk finished at the magnificent grounds of Arundel Castle, which overlooks the River Arun.

Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “The determination and commitment Heather showed at the South Coast Challenge was fantastic and we are extremely grateful for her support. I hope her efforts inspire others whose lives have been affected by a brain tumour.

“Sadly, Jonathan’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. For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Heather’s JustGiving page go to:


For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or


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.