Thousands walk in hope of a cure

7 min read

On Saturday 30th September, thousands of supporters helped us create a sea of pink across the UK as they stepped forward to help find a cure for brain tumours.

This year's Walk of Hope took place in more locations than ever before with around 3,000 people taking part. Together the events have raised more than £260,000 with more money still coming in.

Our biggest event had more than 700 walkers and was led by two of our Fundraising Groups. Aaron’s Army and Ella’s Army joined forces to host the Ellesmere Walk of Hope in memory of seven-year-old Aaron Wharton, who died from an anaplastic ependymoma in April this year, and Ella McCreadie, who was just 13 when she died in her sleep in December 2022.

Aaron’s mum Nicola said: “Nothing prepares you for losing your child. Aaron was robbed of his life and from being with us. It’s unbelievable that with all the advancements in so many other cancers there is so little available for those diagnosed with brain tumours and especially children.”

Nicola with her medal

Ella’s mum Sophie added: “I can’t believe there is so little support from the Government – just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours. Brain tumours are seen as rare, but in my experience, they are not rare at all.”

Sophie (left) with walkers

Hundreds attended our Walk of Hope in Luton which was held in Wardown Park for a third year. This year, the walk was organised in memory of four young people who have died from brain tumours: Amani Liaquat who died in February 2022, aged 23; George Fox who passed away at the age of 13 in April 2022; Shay Patel who died in September 2020, aged 13; and Renai Taylor-Fraser who was 11 when she passed away in August 2022.

Among the walkers in Luton was Graeme Bradley, joined by his son Jordan, daughter Romy, son-in-law Taylor and half a dozen friends. They were walking in memory of Graeme’s wife Sharon, who died in April, months after she was diagnosed with a diffuse midline glioma. Around 20 of Sharon’s work colleagues also took part.

Team Bradley in Luton

Graeme said: “I found it very emotional because it’s the first fundraiser I’ve been involved in and Sharon only died five months ago but overall, I left feeling uplifted and thinking ‘maybe we can do something’.”

He added: “Being involved in events like this and raising awareness is so important. I feel like I need to do something to turn this negative into a positive.”

In Newcastle, six-year-old Eleanore Guthrie and her family led our Walk of Hope. Following her diagnosis with a craniopharyngioma in 2021, Eleanore has had seven operations and undergone proton beam therapy. She now lives with a host of long-term health problems.  

Walkers in Newcastle

At the same event, Bridget Cooper and her niece Johanna Long were walking in memory of Bridget’s son, James, who died from an astrocytoma in 2020, aged 33.

Bridget and Johanna

Bridget said: “This Walk of Hope was an opportunity to give hope to others who are going through what we did. James was keen to raise awareness of brain tumours, so I think he’d be proud.”

In Milton Keynes, supporters completed a 10km walk starting and finishing at our head office in Shenley Wood. Bill Corner was joined by show cocker spaniel, Toffee, whom he credits for saving his life after he lost his wife, Sue, to a glioblastoma (GBM) in October 2020.

Bill and Toffee

Lynsey Williams was diagnosed with a meningioma in February this year. She says she considers herself “extremely lucky” because her tumour is low-grade. Accompanied by her husband Chris, Lynsey completed our Walk of Hope in Chichester.

Also walking in Chichester was Jane Lightfoot, who spent months being treated for a suspected ear infection before it was discovered she had a vestibular schwannoma. Jane walked to help raise awareness of the disease and to give back to Brain Tumour Research which she says has “been a huge support” since her diagnosis.

Michael Lock shared his story ahead of joining our walk in Swanage and it was shared widely including on BBC Somerset. His brain tumour was discovered after he went into work on what should have been his day off

Michael said: “There is a community of patients and family members who have been affected by this disease who have a story to tell. It’s important that we keep talking about brain tumours to get this disease spoken about in front of the people who can help us be part of a positive change for existing and future patients.”

Michael was among walkers in Swanage

Having been left unable to walk after surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma, mum-of-three Amy Reader completed our 7km Walk of Hope in Torpoint, accompanied by her children, Ethan who is 10, Cole, five, and three-year-old Dylan.

Amy (on the right in the pink jacket) and her family

Shyam Chotai travelled from Canning Town to Leicester to take part in our Walk of Hope around Bradgate Park with his family. Shyam, who has a grade 2 astrocytoma, also donated snacks from the family’s Khushi Foods business to our Leicester and Luton events to help keep walkers energised.

Passionate supporters of Brain Tumour Research, Eileen and Terry Smith have raised more than £80,000 for us since losing their son Michael to an oligodendroglioma in 2015, aged 27.


Terry and Eileen ready for their Walk of Hope

Terry said: “As a family, we believe research is so important and even though the trials couldn’t save Michael, his legacy and our hope for others is the future. Hope towards better treatments and ultimately finding a cure is the way forward. It is what Michael would want. He always thought of others.”

In Stockport, grandfather-of-five Mike Sadler, who died from a GBM in November 2020, just five-and-a-half weeks after being diagnosed. He was remembered by his loved ones. Mike’s son, Jonathan, said: “Taking part in the Walk of Hope enabled me to be among others who have their own horrific brain tumour stories; it also gave me time to stop and remember my dad.”

Walkers in Hamilton

Antiques Roadshow expert Theo Burrell and BBC Scotland political editor, Glenn Campbell, joined walkers at our event in Hamilton. Theo is living with a GBM and said she was getting involved in Walk of Hope to celebrate hope, while remembering those who have died from brain tumours. She added: “It’s being able to do something positive out of something negative.”

Theo and Glenn

We are also grateful to those supporters who organised their own Walk of Hope events across the UK. Brain tumour patient Neil Danziger and eight close friends covered an impressive 14km, even picking up an American tourist on the way who generously donated $100!


Neil (grey jacket) and the gang outside Buckingham Palace

It’s the second Walk of Hope Neil has organised. His first, in 2021, raised an impressive £16,900, and this year’s walk has raised nearly £15,000.

One of our newest Fundraising Groups, John’s Crew, walked seven miles from Coalport to Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Their fundraising was in memory of John Lilley, who died from a GBM in May this year, just four days after his 61st birthday.

John’s Army

Before he died, John kept a blog about his brain tumour journey in which he wrote: “We have seen in a generation, the prognosis for patients with breast and leukaemia turned on its head from investment in research, but we haven’t seen that for brain tumour patients. It’s clear that more needs to be done for people like me who are diagnosed with this devastating disease to bring hope, rather than despair, to our loved ones.”

Our thanks go to everyone who took part in a Walk of Hope for Brain Tumour Research. The money and awareness you have raised will help us get closer to our vision of finding a cure for all type of brain tumours, bringing much-needed hope to patients and their loved ones.

If you took part in a Walk of Hope and still have offline funds to pay in, please do so now by clicking here. The sooner we receive those funds, the quicker we can invest them to find a cure.

If you would like to donate in support of our Walk of Hope campaign, please click here to do so. We really appreciate all donations of any value.

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