A Bellingham man has raised over £8000 for a brain tumour charity by running nearly 500 miles.
The 28-year-old railway engineer, Kieron McCann, completed the run for Brain Tumour Research at the end of January.
McCann embarked on the fundraising project to honour his former neighbour, Darel Bryan, who died because of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), one of the most common types of brain tumours in adults, in early 2016.
He ran continuously over a month, starting with one mile on the first day and adding an extra mile for every following day.
McCann said he was determined to complete the task, no matter what lied ahead.
He said: “I’ve got quite a strong mind-set, so I went into it thinking I will finish it, whether I crawl over the finish line, whether I walk, whether I’m on crutches or in a wheelchair.”
But, the physical effects of the month-long run, weakened his strength: “As the days went through . . . my body was completely broken.”
McCann said his compassion towards Bryan’s family, motivated him to continue: “What I see Darel’s family go through, I thought it’s nothing compared to the pain I’m going through.
“How can I not go through this physical pain, when they’ve gone through so much emotional pain? So I just thought, push on.”
£1000 initial target
Despite a £1000 target, donations towards his fundraiser have increased by eight-fold.
Liz Fussey, a manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Our charity’s established to find more effective treatment and ultimately a cure for brain tumours.
“Kieron’s fundraising is probably up to the equivalent of three days’ [worth of] research at one of our centres . . . and I mean that’s incredible.”
McCann said he was pleased with the amount of money donated: “I’m really overwhelmed actually, it’s a lot more than what I expected.”
The funds have been raised in order to strengthen the charity’s research in acknowledgement of Bryan’s death, but to also show respect towards his loved ones.
McCann told ELL: “It was a cause quite close to home. I know they [Brain Tumour Research] have raised over the years, they do fundraisers that I go to and I support.
“So I thought let me speak to his [Darel’s] parents and family and see what I can do and raise as much money as I can for them.”
Improving survival rate
Although McCann has funded the charity on behalf of Darel’s relatives, he believes that it is vital to consider the wider impact of brain tumours.
McCann said: “I want to see more improvements in brain tumour research, not just in Bellingham or Catford [where he used to live].”
He added: “Obviously it hits home when it’s close to home but it is affecting everyone.”
McCann hopes that the funding will improve specific areas of brain tumour research, which will help to reduce cases of heightened vulnerability and deaths, whilst working towards the potential prevention of these tumours.
He told ELL: “I hope it goes to the much needed research . . . whether that’s going to cures for brain tumours or catching it at an early stage, stages where you have more of a chance of a survival rate, that’s what I’m hoping.”
McCann said that he would like to see the research progress on a global scale, underpinning the poignancy of the condition.
He said: “I think I would like to see improvements in the treatment worldwide. It’s heart-breaking, I’ve been on Twitter just seeing five-year-old and six-year-old kids getting brain tumours and dying and I just think to myself that could be my little brother or that could be your little brother.”
Despite the recent breakthrough, McCann affirms that he would like to continue with his pursuit of advocacy and fundraising.
He said: “Hopefully I can do a lot more, in terms of challenges and raising awareness and money. It’s a nice feeling.”
If you would like to donate to McCann’s fundraiser, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kieron-mccann11