A SOMERSET man who raised more than £3,500 after his much-loved mum died of a brain tumour, is sponsoring a day of research in her memory.

Simon Ross, from Yeovil, lost his mum Denise Ross, also from Yeovil, in November 2018, at the age of 60.

Simon with his mumSimon with his mum (Image: Contributed)

Denise had suffered a fall at home after experiencing agonising headaches, which led to her diagnosis with a grade 4 brain tumour in October 2017.

Despite surgery and radiotherapy, she lost her mobility and was withdrawn from further treatment.

Simon said: “My mum was amazing and handled her diagnosis and treatment like a true fighter.

“She was always in my mind when I took on my fundraising challenges for Brain Tumour Research.

“No matter how hard it felt, I could never quit knowing that she went through so much and gave it her all.”

On Wednesday, June 5, Denise’s husband Colin Ross, sons Simon and Adam Ross and granddaughters Bethani Ross and Ava Dean-Ross were invited by the charity Brain Tumour Research to its Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth to find out how their fundraising is helping support scientists researching low-grade brain tumours.

By identifying and understanding the mechanism that makes a cell become cancerous, the team is exploring ways to halt or reverse them.

Gym owner and personal trainer, Simon Ross completed a year of endurance challenges during 2023.

As well as taking on a number of running events, including the 28-mile Lulworth Cove Trail Run, the 28-mile Beacons Ultra-marathon and the Ham & Lyme 50k (more than 30 miles), Simon also came second in the Brutal 100 Mile in Wales which saw challengers run 20 laps around Llanberis Lake (a 5.2-mile circuit) on his 44th birthday last September.

Colin, Ava, Adam, Bethani, and Simon RossColin, Ava, Adam, Bethani, and Simon Ross (Image: Contributed)

To complete his year of fundraising challenges, Simon took on an 86km cycle ride (the distance between London and Brighton) on static bikes at his gym, Rossi’s Regime Fitness, along with 10 others.

Additionally, in the summer of 2019, Simon completed the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge 106km run over two days for Brain Tumour Research, raising more than £900.

He ran with his friend Jon Watson on the first day and finished first on the second day.

Simon added: “I am really grateful to everyone who sponsored me. It means a lot to be able to sponsor a day and place a tile on the Wall of Hope in Mum’s memory.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer and more men under 70 than prostate cancer.

Simon and his guests were given the opportunity to tour the labs at the University of Plymouth, led by principal investigator Professor David Parkinson.

They spoke to scientists about their work to find a cure for the disease and placed a tile dedicated to Denise on the Wall of Hope.

Simon added: “Although it’s too late for mum, I hope the money we’ve donated is life-changing and will help make a difference for people diagnosed with a brain tumour in the future.

“It is encouraging to hear from the scientists about the work being done in their quest to find a cure, which can’t come soon enough.”

Louise Aubrey, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re really grateful to Simon and his family for their incredible support and generosity.

“We hope that their visit to our Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth offered a useful insight into all we’re doing to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure.

“Just 12 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 54 per cent across all cancers, yet, just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002. This has to change.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK.

It also campaigns for the Government and 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 the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

To find out more about sponsoring a day of research, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/sponsor-a-day.