A GRANDAD who set himself the challenge of completing a marathon by walking laps of his garden while in self-isolation has raised more than £1,700 for charity.

For Paul Mason, 73, from Guisborough, it was especially challenging because he has a brain tumour which makes it difficult for him to walk.

He started his challenge on March 29 and completed it over the course of 19 days.

Mr Mason’s grandson Dan set up a fundraising page for him, and he has now raised more than £1,700 for the charity Brain Tumour Support. He would love to reach £2,000.

Up until July last year Mr Mason 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 University Hospital in Middlesbrough performed a de-bulking operation, and he then went through radiotherapy and chemotherapy to give the best chance of prolonging his life.

Following treatment, Mr Mason still suffers the left-side weakness, causing balance issues and making walking difficult.

Like many brain tumour patients post-surgery, Mr Mason also has issues with fatigue, which means any form of physical exercise is completely draining.

Under the Coronavirus guidelines, Mr Mason 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’s 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.”

“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.”

There are over 120 different types of brain tumour and each one will affect the patient in different ways, physically, emotionally and mentally. Because of these complex and varied symptoms, brain tumours often also have devastating effects on families and loved ones. Brain Tumour Support works with NHS professionals to support patients and families throughout this difficult time. The charity was founded by Tina Mitchell Skinner, who lost her own husband to a GBM 17 years ago.

She said: “The determination Paul has shown has inspired us all to keep going. I know he finds walking difficult and suffers from debilitating fatigue, so to complete those 26 miles is astounding. The funds he has raised will go a long way to enabling us to help others in these uncertain times. Our charity is currently also facing huge challenges but if we can show just half the determination that Paul has shown, I know we can pull through. We are determined to ensure that our support services will continue to be available to those that need them more than ever. With the help of people like Paul, we can achieve this. We are extremely grateful to Paul, his family and everyone who donated.”

To donate to his fund and help him reach £2,000, please visit www.braintumoursupport.co.uk/pauls-walkathon.