A 73-year-old grandad Paul Mason, from Guisborough, Cleveland took on a tough personal challenge to combat the stress of self-isolation and to inspire and help others. Now he has vowed to keep going, even though he has already achieved his target. His original aim was to complete a marathon by walking laps of his garden, despite being diagnosed with a brain tumour that makes it difficult for him to walk.
Paul started his challenge on March 29th and completed it over the course of 19 days. See the moment he completed his marathon target here - https://youtu.be/Ri-RiAKFRMU Paul’s grandson Dan set up a fundraising page for him, and Paul has now raised almost £2,000 for Brain Tumour Support.
Up until July last year Paul was fit and active, enjoying regular exercise on his bike and walking his dog Charlie. Then he experienced weakness in his left side which quickly progressed causing him to be admitted to hospital. A brain scan revealed a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour, an aggressive and highly invasive form of brain cancer. After initially being told that it was unlikely surgeons would operate, the neurosurgical team at James Cook Hospital performed a de-bulking operation, and he then went through radiotherapy and chemotherapy to give the best chance of prolonging his life.
Following treatment Paul still suffers the left-side weakness, causing balance issues and making walking difficult. Having not previously used one, he would now never consider walking without a stick. Like many brain tumour patients post-surgery, Paul also has issues with concentration and thought processing as well as fatigue, which means any form of physical exercise is completely draining.
Under the Coronavirus guidelines, Paul had to self-isolate early due to his treatment, and he found this really tough. “In the first week I experienced low mood, loneliness and a lack of motivation, which resulted in me sitting in my chair indoors doing nothing,” he said. But taking on the marathon challenge changed all that.
“My marathon attempt has given me a purpose, improved my mobility, lifted my mood and also given me a connection with the outside world even though I am confined to my house and garden. It has also had a positive impact on my interaction with others through people getting in touch to discuss my progress and also to provide lots of encouragement and support.”
He chose to raise funds for Brain Tumour Support because the charity vision, that no-one should face a brain tumour diagnosis alone, resonated with him. He set himself a modest target of £150 but reached this within a day. “I am amazed by the generosity of others, including people I don’t know personally, and this has spurred me on even more. I have received some lovely comments and words of encouragement from so many people.”
After completing the marathon distance and raising more funds than he had ever imagined, Paul is now determined to get to that £2,000 milestone, and has decided to continue his walk until he reaches 99.6 miles. This is the distance from his house to his friend’s house in Cumbria who he had planned to visit before lockdown. He is now just a few pounds away from that new fundraising target.
“I hope that my efforts have a positive impact on others, and that the money raised can help people going through this experience without a support network to get the help and support they need to get through it. I know I couldn’t have managed without the care and love of my family and friends, and this is why I selected this charity - so no-one has to face this alone.”
You can give Paul continued encouragement in his inspiring challenge through his fundraising page here - www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pauls-walkathon