TUNBRIDGE WELLS mum Kate Burton walked 30 miles around the town last week to raise awareness and funds for research into brain tumours after her daughter was diagnosed with the disease.
In completing her Tunbridge Wells Challenge, Kate joined forces with the thousands supporting The Brain Tumour Charity’s nationwide #WearItOut campaign to launch the Brain Tumour Awareness Month from March 3.
Her 29-year-old daughter Elinore, a primary school teacher and former pupil at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School, was found to have a tumour last year.
She had a seizure in February 2016 after arriving home from school and was taken to A&E for treatment. It happened again a few weeks later and the condition was diagnosed as epilepsy.
However, an MRI scan eventually revealed a brain tumour, which was initially considered benign. After more detailed scan caused concern, Elinore’s neurosurgeon decided that it had to be removed.
The operation was carried out three weeks before her August wedding to Tim Madden, which had been one year in the planning. The married couple spent their honeymoon in Crete, believing that Elinore’s health was under control.
It came as a devastating shock in September when she was given the diagnosis of a malignant Grade 4 brain tumour with a very poor life expectancy prognosis.
In October Elinore started radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, but she kept working until she had to stop teaching last month.
Kate has discovered that brain tumours are very much the poor relation within cancer treatments. The survival rate is very low and the funding is wholly inadequate.
Each year over 10,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with brain tumours, but less than 2 per cent of cancer funding is spent on research into this condition.
Kate was accompanied on her marathon walk by her son Alex, an Army reservist and former Skinner’s student son, and has raised almost £4,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity.
She walked a seven-and-a-half-mile circuit from Rusthall, taking in Langton Green, Broom Lane and the High Rocks, four times.
Kate says her daughter has been comforted by the number of friends and acquaintances who have made donations to the cause.
“She’s found it a nice feeling, it’s made her realise how many people care about her condition,” said Kate. “They can’t help practically but they can show their support.”
The next day, Kate’s friend Sue Barrett-Austen matched her feat by cycling 30 miles.
Geraldine Pipping, the charity’s Director of Fundraising, said: “We receive no government money and rely 100 per cent on voluntary donations.
“So it’s only through the efforts of supporters like Kate Burton that we can continue to make a real difference. All of the money raised through #WearItOut will help fund our vital research.
“Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under-40s and survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years.
“We are leading the way in changing this, fighting brain tumours on all fronts by funding world-class research as well as offering support and information.”
If you would like to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kate-A-Burton