In May of this year father and daughter duo, Michael and Clara, set out on a challenge of epic proportions. Together, they set out to cover the distance equivalent to the length of the UK in 120 days. That’s 1084 miles each and 2168 miles in total! They took on the distance in 120 days to highlight the fact that only 12.0% of people survive 5 years past their brain cancer diagnosis. 120 days later they completed this impressive challenge, we caught up with Michael to find out more about how the challenge went and what it meant to them.
Clara and I took on the challenge after the loss of a second family memory to a brain tumour. We lost my brother, Tim, more than a decade ago, then my wife’s brother, Paul left us in January. Although it was difficult both times, we saw that Paul had a better quality of life for a little longer than Tim, which shows that medical science is having an impact. So, we want to do whatever we can to help researchers and innovators to make even more progress.
Our hope is that in another decade, many more people with brain tumours can enjoy life’s golden moments – the birth of a grandchild, a child’s wedding or a memorable family holiday.
Clara was really the driving force behind this. She was determined to get fit after the birth of her first child and she wanted to turn her fitness regime into something meaningful for others. I could hardly say no when she asked me.
The challenge became a fun obsession and something we wanted to do each day. The physical challenge was not an issue at all. It was so motivating to get donations from friends, family and complete strangers. It was both a low but massive high point when I saw a donation and message of thanks from someone who was battling a glioblastoma multiforme. It’s a low because I know how they are suffering, but it was an inspirational high to have them on our side.
It was great to have my wife, children, son and daughter-in-law and grandson to celebrate with us at the finish line. We felt happy to have made a small contribution to the battle against brain cancer, and very aware that we are just one part of an impressive and magnificent community of supporters and volunteers.
Tim and Paul were great people – fun, intelligent and great company. You realise when a brain tumour takes them, that life is designed to be unfair. It is only by coming together as a community to help fund solutions, that we can create a fairer and more hopeful future for people with brain cancer.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Michael and Clara for taking on this truly impressive challenge for brainstrust. The money raised will help us continue to build a better world for people living with a brain tumour and their loved ones. You can find out more about the impact our work has here. If you’d like to learn more about how our work supporting brain tumour research is helping improve outcomes, click here. Finally, if Michael and Clara’s story has left you feeling inspired, you can find out more about supporting brainstrust here.