A brain tumour survivor will be taking on the ‘wheely’ long challenge throughout August to raise awareness of the disease.
Ben Wheeler from Swansea was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just 12, after he experienced a seizure out-of-the-blue in 1994. He had an operation to remove the mass and has had regular stable scans ever since.
Ben, who has two children, aged 11 and 13 said: “I look at my children now as they’re around the age I was when I was diagnosed, and I can’t believe what I went through when I was just a boy.”
After having to sit out PE lessons in case he suffered a seizure which were brought on by bursts of excitement and mood changes, decades later the 41-year-old said he feels “very lucky” to be here today.
He added: “Growing up I felt a little excluded from activities which I couldn’t take part in for fear they could lead to me blacking out. My diagnosis denied me a career in the Navy and I find myself having to declare my brain tumour whilst filling in forms in my adult life which is a constant reminder, but they’re all things that in the grand scheme of things are insignificant.”
Now in its third year, Cycle 274 Miles in August is a great challenge which participants can tailor to suit them and complete at their own pace.
They can cycle the same distance every day or complete different distances each day, heading outdoors for a ride or cycling on a static bike at home or in the gym. To sign up, visit www.braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/cycle-274-miles-in-august.
The digital strategist who works for the NHS said: “I love cycling and am determined to clock up even more miles than normal next month. I’ve got my cycling club, Action Bikes, involved too so we can pave the roads in pink and yellow for Brain Tumour Research.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.
He added: “My job shows me that when the funding is there, we can make advances in medical treatments.
“I feel fortunate that my ordeal was over within a year. I since understand that not everyone’s journey is linear, which is why it’s important for me to do something for the generations who are facing their own brain tumour diagnosis.”
Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re grateful to Ben for sharing his story and supporting the charity through an epic month-long challenge. His commitment to supporting those who are facing their own brain tumour diagnosis is inspiring and we wish him the best of luck with his cycle ride.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Ben’s fundraiser, you can visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ben1688449333156
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.