FRIENDS and family of a Coventry man who died of a brain tumour will take part in a virtual ‘Run for Neil’ on Saturday (May 8) in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity.
Father-of-four Neil Stuart, from Earlsdon, Coventry, died in January, aged 60, after he was diagnosed with a Grade 4 Glioblastoma – the most common aggressive form of brain tumour in adults – last April.
His daughter, Charlie Stuart, tells the story that inspired her to organise the event.
She said: “Dad was a fun loving man and he had a great sense of humour. He was dedicated and hardworking, but he knew how to have a good time.
“He knew how to tell a good story, and was always last to leave the party.
“One of our favourite stories was the time our dad ran the Guernsey half marathon on only a few hours’ sleep – he had been partying the night before – and in a pair of denim shorts! We wanted to make a tribute to him and do the same.”
Support for the event quickly snowballed, with more than 90 people, including Neil’s widow, Joanne, and all his four children, Max, Charlie, Lillie and Joseph, taking part in return for sponsorship.
Runners and walkers from Neil’s home town will be joined on the day by participants in London and Manchester. Running or walking in their own choice of location, runners can tackle any distance, from 5k upwards.
But a large number have chosen to take on the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles and Neil’s daughter Lillie will even run her marathon in denim shorts, as a tribute to her dad.
Neil’s widow, Joanne, who is tackling the full marathon in Coventry on Saturday, also tragically lost her mother and grandmother to brain tumours.
She said: “Walking and running has given many of us a focus during this difficult time.
“It is a way of keeping Neil’s legacy going, and for something positive to grow from our loss.
“We want to help as much as we can so no one has to go through what we, and so many other families, have experienced.”
The team has set a target of £10,000 and already raised nearly £9,000.
Charlie said: “We want to give it our all so have been training with a lot of dedication. We have a Strava group where everyone is spurring each other on through training! It has been a great way to keep fit and keep focussed over lockdown.
“The Brain Tumour Charity has become a very close charity to us as brain tumours have had such an impact on our family.
“Many people taking part have come to me explaining their support also comes from personal experiences with loss from brain tumours. I will be thinking of Dad the whole time.”
Gina Almond, the charity’s director of fundraising, said: “We are extremely grateful for all the efforts made by our fantastic fundraisers and thank them very much.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and, unlike other cancers, survival rates have not improved over the last 40 years.
“We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations, so it’s only through the efforts of people like Charlie and Joanne, that we can change these shocking statistics in the future and bring hope to the thousands of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year.”
Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/run-for-neil-the-brain-tumour-charity if you would like to find out more or donate.
The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts. Find out more here.
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