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Esme's story

Losing a parent to a brain tumour is a devastating event. One of our supporters, 23-year-old Esme, has been through this ordeal twice, having lost both her mum and dad to the most aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. She’s now taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon 2019 for us, raising awareness and funds to help combat this truly awful disease.

I was six when we lost my mother to a brain tumour. I was tiny when she died, so my memories of her are a bit blurry. I do remember her playing with me in the garden and singing nursery rhymes with me in the car.

Last year, when I was writing my Masters dissertation at Loughborough University, my father, who was a head teacher, had noticed he was getting a few of his words muddled up. We all thought he was overtired and put it down to stress caused by his work. But eventually it got worse.

He went to the GP and was sent for further tests. That’s when he called me and said, ‘something’s been found and it doesn’t look good.’

I rushed home and we were given the diagnosis – he had two tumours, both quite large. It was very sudden. He was given a prognosis of three months, and initially he was still pretty much himself. But before he could start treatment he deteriorated rapidly. He got worse day by day.

That was a horrible week. I was still trying to finish my dissertation by the deadline. I wanted to be able to tell my dad I’d finished it, which I was so glad I managed to do before he died in September 2017.

I’ve watched the London Marathon coverage over the years and the buzz is incredible. I love a challenge, so when I decided to do something to raise awareness and money to combat brain tumours, I thought ‘why not go all out and do the Marathon?’

I enjoy running, but I’ve never run a marathon before! The training is going to be tough. I’m preparing by doing cardio, HIIT and spinning, and I plan to start upping the duration and distance of my runs.

Any time I have a doubt or wobble, or think ‘can I actually do this?’, I just think about the potential good I can do. That’s my biggest driver. And I’ve got my mum and dad in my memories, too – I want to do it for them.