‘Caring’ nan’s brain tumour battle inspires grandsons’ mountain trek

An East Sussex woman, who has spent more than a decade battling a brain tumour, has inspired her grandsons to climb the UK’s highest mountain to help fund vital research.
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Linda Cornford, a grandmother-of-10 from Eastbourne, was diagnosed with a meningioma in October 2009 after making repeated visits to her GP concerned about having shaky hands and mobility problems which led to her shuffling as she walked.

The 76-year-old, who also has three great-grandchildren, has undergone multiple surgeries but the location of her tumour means it cannot be fully removed. She is currently being monitored with six-monthly scans.

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Now her grandsons Frazer Burgess and Louie Hill have been inspired to climb Ben Nevis in aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research.

Friends George Collett and Frazer Burgess at the top of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in 2022Friends George Collett and Frazer Burgess at the top of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in 2022
Friends George Collett and Frazer Burgess at the top of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in 2022

The pair, who are cousins, will be taking on the challenge with their friend George Collett during Brain Tumour Awareness Month (BTAM), on 23 March.

Frazer, who works in IT as a disaster recovery analyst, said: “We’re very excited about it. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve done it previously, because it is a big ask, and the key is preparation, so, as well as buying boots and making sure we have enough layers and waterproofs, we’ve been doing lots of walks on the South Downs to get ready.

“We’re going to be camping at the bottom of the mountain. We’ll go up the day before, camp, do the hike, camp and come back the following day. That seemed the only sensible thing to do because it’s a 12-hour drive from where we live.”

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The 24-year-old, who is to become a first-time dad in July, added: “Nan’s the head of our family and we’re really close. As well as being very strong and independent, she’s incredibly caring. She looks after everyone, but now it’s our turn to do something for her.”

Brain tumour patient Linda CornfordBrain tumour patient Linda Cornford
Brain tumour patient Linda Cornford

The trio, who are also from Eastbourne, are aiming to raise at least £2,740, which is enough to sponsor a day of research at any of the four Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence.

Frazer said: “As well as wanting to raise awareness of the charity and encouraging people to get checked out if they recognise they have symptoms, I’m keen to help fund research because I think it’s shocking that just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002.”

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three people knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, Lynda’s story is, sadly, not unique. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer.

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“We’re determined to change this but it’s only by working together we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure. We’re really grateful to Frazer, Louie and George for taking on this huge challenge for us and wish them the best of luck with it.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and 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.

To support the trio’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/page/frazer-burgess-1705704401118.