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Father’s brain tumour death inspires London Marathon challenge

Family fundraiser Christopher with son Karl, daughter Vicky, and wife Audrey
Family fundraiser Christopher with son Karl, daughter Vicky, and wife Audrey

[A] grieving son is to run the London Marathon in memory of his father who died less than three years after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

Christopher Todd, aged 65, passed away in November. He had undergone surgery and treatment for the disease which was first detected after he experienced violent headaches and stroke-like symptoms.

During his two-year battle Christopher, a former miner who lived in Whitehaven, campaigned alongside his wife Audrey and their daughter Vicky Mason to raise awareness of the disease. Inspired by her father’s story, Vicky has raised nearly £20,000 for Brain Tumour Research, the national charity which funds a network of research centres of excellence where scientists are focused on finding a cure

Now her brother, Karl, 41, from Workington, is seeking sponsorship for next year’s London Marathon and has pledged to raise £3,000 for Brain Tumour Research

Karl, a commissioning engineer at Sellafield, who is married to Lindsay and has four children aged between five and 14, said: “It is hard to accept that dad is no longer with us but it is made worse by seeing how this terrible disease gradually and without mercy robbed him of his life in the last two-and-a-half years.

“Dad was like a rock to me, he was strong and supportive and allowed me to build my life the way I wanted. He didn’t judge the choices I made and this was incredibly valuable to me. I will dearly miss updating him on life events such as how my children are getting on at school, and that I’ve run a marathon in a new personal best – God willing.

“It’s a sad fact that brain tumours can affect anyone at any time but no-one knows what causes them. Treatments for patients like dad are very limited. I hope my efforts will help raise awareness of this awful and indiscriminate disease and draw attention to the dreadful under-funding of research which has gone on for far too long.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer but just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Karl, who has completed a number of running events including four marathons, is one of more than 40 people signed up to support the charity by taking part in the world’s most famous running event on 23rd April 2017. Many others who have received a sought-after ballot place are still choosing if they will support a charity and, if so, which one.

Carol Robertson, Community Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. Experiences like Karl’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are extremely grateful for their support and are appealing for runners who have a ballot place for the marathon to join him on Team Brain Tumour Research by nominating us as their chosen charity for 2017. Together we will find a cure.”

Runners on Team Brain Tumour Research will receive:

  • A Brain Tumour Research running vest
  • Support to help achieve fundraising targets
  • Help to secure media coverage if required
  • An invitation to join the Brain Tumour Research Running Team Facebook group to chat to fellow runners
  • The opportunity to place a commemorative tile on the Wall of Hope and tour one of the research labs (for those raising more than £2,740 – the sum it costs to fund each day of research)

To find out more about how to support the charity Brain Tumour Research contact Community Fundraising Manager Carol Robertson [email protected]

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Karl’s JustGiving page, go to

Brain Tumour Research is campaigning to see the national spend on brain tumour research increased to £30 – £35 million a year, in line with breast and leukaemia, in order to advance treatments, and ultimately find a cure.

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