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Walk to mark friends who both died of brain tumours.

Byline: ANDREW ROBINSON andrew.robinson@trinitymirror.com @Andrew_Examiner

A COUPLE are taking on a 50-mile walk to honour two best friends who BOTH died from brain tumours.

Mark Lowry and wife Cheryl are taking on the Calderdale Way over three days to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of two of Mark's childhood friends.

The friends grew up in Southowram near Brighouse and were close friends throughout their early years, school days and into adulthood.

Mark, who is about to turn 50, said: "As I was approaching this landmark birthday I was thinking a lot about my two longest and closest friends who were both taken tragically early due to brain tumours.

"Richard Marsden was 33 when he died in 2001 and Mark Varley died in 2012 when he was just 43.

"Richard moved away to Derby, married and had a family but we stayed in touch. I was best man for Richard and Mark and they were ushers when Cheryl and I married.

"Richard lived for five years following his diagnosis in 1996. He was a school teacher who managed to return to work after a long period of chemotherapy until the cancer eventually beat him.

"Mark married and had a daughter but unbelievably he was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumour aged 43 in 2012. Between diagnosis and his death he only had three months."

The loss of his two best friends hasn't eased for Mark, but it has galvanised him and his wife to support The Brain Tumour Charity.

He said: "I wanted to try to do something positive rather than focus on the tragedy of their passing and the sadness that this continues to leave.

"I chose The Brain Tumour Charity as I was aware that funding into research is very low and that treatment and prognosis has improved very little over a number of years and yet so many people seem to be affected by the condition.

"I thought that if I could do something to remember my friends in a positive way and raise some funds for such an important cause this would be a good way to honour and remember them given that I won't be able to see them and share a pint as I reach my half century.

"For them both to be struck down by brain tumours was so tragic and this is why I want to raise as much money as I possibly can so that I can make a small contribution to the research so desperately needed to prevent others dying from this condition, or at least being helped to survive for longer."

Rob Colgrave, community fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity, said: "Mark and Cheryl's plans to walk the Calderdale Way are an inspirational story borne out of the sadness of their loss. We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations and gifts in wills so it's only through the efforts of all our community that we can work towards our twin goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours.

"Every year in the UK 11,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour - that's 30 a day - and our five-year research strategy, A Cure Can't Wait, aims to double survival within 10 years and halve the harm caused by brain tumours on quality of life.

"We are committed to fighting for all those people whose lives are turned upside down by this devastating disease."

The Brain Tumour Charity knows that less than 2% of cancer research funding in the UK is spent on research into brain tumours.

Find out more and to donate: https:// www.justgiving.com/Cheryl-Lowry Find out more about brain tumours, their symptoms, the research we fund, and how we can help: www.thebraintumourcharity.org

CAPTION(S):

Mark Lowry, left, with friends Richard Marsden and Mark Varley, right, who are now deceased

Mark and Cheryl Lowry
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 16, 2018
Words:655
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