Jade McIntyre, of Crawley, West Sussex, will be running the 10k Cancer Research UK London Winter Run on 13 February in aid of Brain Tumour Research, inspired by her son, Kye, who has been tasked with choosing a fancy dress costume for her to wear on the day.
The 39-year-old, who ran the London Marathon in 2018, has already raised more than £4,000 for the charity, smashing the £2,740 needed to fund a day of research at one of its Centres of Excellence and now has her sights set on raising enough to fund two days.
Jade, a creative project manager, said: “I think because I hadn’t shared my story with many friends previously, only a few close family and friends, a lot of people have reached out and sponsored me after seeing the GoFundMe page I set up – I think that’s why we’ve had such an overwhelming response. I’ve been totally blown away by it and feel really lucky to have so much support.”
Kye was rushed into hospital in November 2020 after suffering a seizure at home. Despite initially being suspected of having had a stroke or encephalitis, an MRI scan revealed he had a lesion on his brain, later confirmed to be a brain tumour.
The location of the tumour prevents doctors from being able to operate, forcing them instead to focus on managing his epilepsy.
After months of struggling to control his fits, which come as he is sleeping in the form of full tonic-clonic seizures and when he is awake in the form of focal seizures, Kye was fitted with a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) to make administering regular medication easier, leading him to develop an eating disorder which resulted in weight loss, reduced medication and increased seizures.
Jade – who has two more sons, Fin, 13, and Sol, seven – said: “It’s one thing after another and feels like we solve one issue only to create another. Every MRI we’re told it’s stable and it doesn’t grow or change is really positive. We are learning to deal with the side effects as our new norm.”
She added: “I was really shocked by the statistics surrounding brain tumours and how many people under 40 it affects, as well as the little funding it gets. Obviously, we’re doing everything we can to help Kye but it’s nice to be able to feel like we’re contributing something.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Kye’s story is a stark reminder that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age. It’s impossible to comprehend the struggles he and his family have had this past year and we can only hope that things improve for them very soon.
“We welcome Jade’s support as we remain committed to funding research to improve treatment options for brain tumour patients and, ultimately, to finding a cure.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To help Jade reached her new fundraising target, visit www.gofundme.com/f/jade-fund-raiser-for-brain-tumour-research.