We're a team of friends and family who are running to raise money for brainstrust, a brain tumour support charity.
Our team is made up of the following women, some of whom have barely run a mile, others who have done a marathon. They are: Helen Bottrill, Anna Hoondert, Carolyne Hague, Cat Sherwin, Claire Lewis, Dee Strawbridge, Eleanor Yeo, Georgina Percival, Hannah Hallmark, Helen Elliot, Kate Doodson, Lucy Norman, Annette Gillett, Sally Kazer and Sarah Newman.
And they are all training and giving up their time to be part of team which was formed by me; Suzanne McQueenie in memory of my brother Rob Arnold.
Last July Rob was diagnosed with a brain tumour and our world turned upside down. He was a very fit 45 year-old, married with three lovely children all under 14.
The diagnosis was devastating and the prognosis was very poor. The tumour was aggressive, fast-growing and inoperable. He could have treatment, but we had to face a reality that we never imagined would happen to us.
He had the treatment - a treatment almost as harsh and life-changing as the tumour itself and battled through setback after setback.
Our family pulled together and supported each other. But a diagnosis of a brain tumour is an isolating and terrifying time. There felt like little support and we were left trying to find our way through a bewildering maze of information. It was a couple of months after his diagnosis that I found the charity brainstrust.
brainstrust is the only charity that offers a comprehensive and specialised service to help people gain control and become equal partners in their care following diagnosis, and throughout their treatment. It is based at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, but supports people just like us, right across the UK.
At brainstrust there was always someone available on the phone to give advice, day or night, whether it was about a treatment we didn’t understand, or for simple emotional support when we didn’t know where to turn.
We tried our best and Rob remained positive throughout, each time he received more bad news he picked himself up and vowed to carry on and be there for his wife Michelle and their three children. But unable to fight this hideous disease he died, with us all beside him, in April.
I’m not sure how to make sense of this and I don’t know whether we ever will. But I feel strongly that we need to make something good come from something so devastating; and that’s why we’ve chosen to give back to the people who supported us by raising money for brainstrust by taking part in the Great West Run.
A complete non-runner this is no easy task, but as I discussed it with friends they all wanted to do something. So we've got an amazing, inspiring team of women training for the Great West Run in October.
It’s too late to help my brother, but maybe we can help others in this situation. These are the facts:
There are over 60,000 people living with a brain tumour in the UK, and 16,000 more are diagnosed each year.
Brain tumours are the most significant cause of cancer deaths amongst men under 45 and in women under 35. They are now the most common solid tumour found in those under 16 and biggest cancer killer of children in the UK.
What causes brain tumours is unknown and incidence is increasing.
The diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating; as we discovered, patients, families and carers suddenly find themselves in a situation that is complex and bewildering. People are isolated, disempowered and lose control. brainstrust is about helping people regain that control and offers the support so many people urgently need.
So, if you see us struggling around the Great West Run perhaps give us an extra cheer - or donate a few pounds to help other people in this dreadful situation.
Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.