The fundraising walk
On Saturday 30th September, a group of fifty friends – who call themselves the “Marvellous Marshians” – will set out from Folkestone on the epic fundraising walk, finishing at St Mary’s Bay. This is the third walk organiser Penny has co-ordinated to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity, after her brother Darrel died shortly after a brain tumour diagnosis in 2017. And her team of walkers includes other local families who have been affected by the disease.
Penny, who lives in Burmarsh, was inspired to organise the walk in memory of her brother, Darrell Cole, who sadly passed away in 2017. Darrell was just 46 when he died. There was very little warning he was ill, and his sudden death devastated his family.
“Darrell’s first symptom was a continuous headache that had grown worse over a period of eight weeks. He was a keen and talented golfer and was on a golfing trip with friends when he struggled to play, after having loss of feeling in his arm and hand.
“He went to the doctors on a Wednesday, then the following Monday went to King’s Hospital in London to be told he was Level 4. The next morning, he was rushed to hospital with a severe headache and was told the tumour was bleeding inside itself; by Friday that same week, the bleed had made its way to the rest of his brain, and he passed away.
“Darrell left behind a much-loved wife, and two beautiful children, then aged 4 and 7. His whole family struggle to this day to come to terms with the sudden life taken from them.” Penny
Joining other families
This is the third walk Penny has organised to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity, having completed similar challenges in 2018 and 2021. Her team of walkers has grown over the years. 15 undertook the first walk in 2018, but an impressive 50 people will stride out on September 30th. They include Leah Madden, whose daughter Lottie, 10, is living with a brain tumour; and mum of two, Toni Dodson, who learned she had an oligodendroglioma brain tumour in 2020.
Also taking part is Catherine Morgan, from New Romney, whose six-year-old son, Callum, was recently diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma brain tumour.
Despite several visits to A&E, medics put Callum’s vomiting and vacant spells down to concussion and even anxiety, but as the weeks went on, Catherine was convinced something was wrong after Callum’s walking became wobbly and he grew weaker on his left side. Callum was also showing changes in behaviour, and one of his eyes looked bigger and unfocussed.
After his tumour was discovered, Callum underwent eight hours of emergency surgery at King’s College Hospital, London. Due to its location, not all the tumour could be removed. Callum now has three monthly scans to monitor it.
The Marvellous Marshians hope to raise £5,000 with this year’s fundraising walk and are making good progress towards their target.