Sister’s Vow to Make a Difference

Participant Stories

Two sisters are vowing to make a difference in tribute to a friend who died less than a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Devastated by the death of their friend, Daniel Dewar, Belinda and Stephanie Ensten are taking part in ultra-marathon Race to the King to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Research charity. The sisters hope to raise at least £1,000 towards research into the disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Daniel was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in November 2017, just six months later, however, his diagnosis changed to an aggressive grade 4 tumour known as a diffuse midline glioma. The 27-year-old underwent radiotherapy but died in October 2018, less than a year after his initial diagnosis.

Belinda, a 26-year-old midwife from Kilburn, said: “Dan’s loyalty, support, courage and humour were unwavering and it’s heart-breaking that this disease has taken him away so cruelly. Being beside him as he quickly deteriorated was tough but it’s inspiring me to keep going whilst doing something positive in his memory.”

The sisters’ challenge will see them run a double marathon along the South Downs Way in June 2019. On day one, they will run for 23.4 miles and climb 2,718ft, followed by a 30-mile run and 2,333ft climb on day two.

Stephanie, who lives in Lewisham, said: “Race to the King is going to be tough but it’s nothing compared to what Dan went through after his diagnosis and what his family are going through now. It shocked me how poor his prognosis was and opened my eyes to how much more needs to be done for brain tumour patients.”

Belinda and Stephanie are also organising charity pub quizzes in London and Suffolk in support of the charity. Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence in the UK; it also campaigns for the Government and the 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 calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

Janice Wright, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in London, said: “Belinda and Stephanie’s determination to fundraise for us is incredible and we hope they will inspire others to support research into this disease. Best of luck to them as they train for their challenge.

“Dan’s story reminds us that brain tumours kill more men under the age of 45 than prostate cancer. What’s more, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease, and we are proud to be changing this.”

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