Mary’s month-long challenge for brother lost to brain tumour

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A Northamptonshire mum-of-two is putting her best foot forward as she takes part in a month-long challenge to help fund the fight against brain tumours.

Mary Spooner is taking part in our 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge in memory of her brother.

Mary, who works for a high street bank’s bereavement department, said: “I lost my husband, Dean, back in 2017. After he passed, I started doing a lot of walking and found that it really helped my mental health.”

The 55-year-old’s inspiration comes from her younger brother, Michael Ives, who died of glioblastoma (GBM) last October, aged 52.

Michael’s shock diagnosis came in January 2022 following a minor car accident, after which he exhibited confused speech. A stroke was suspected until he was found to have two highly aggressive brain tumours.

Despite a debulking surgery followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, his health continued to decline.

Mary said: “It was heartbreaking to watch Michael deteriorate like that. When he passed, he donated his brain and spinal cord to research, in the hope of helping others.”

“This challenge is my way of giving something back, because brain tumours are a lot more common than people think. They’re also indiscriminate so can strike anyone at any time. I know I can’t bring Michael back but if I can do something to save anyone else from suffering, I know that’s what he would have wanted.”

To support Mary’s fundraising, visit

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