A couple grieving for their two-year-old son, lost to a brain tumour last year, are organising a Walk of Hope in his memory to help find a cure for the disease.
Albie Bayliss-Watts from Didcot was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour when he was just 18 months old after having a seizure out of the blue.
He endured surgery and gruelling chemotherapy, but it wasn’t enough to halt the progress of his non-classifiable brain tumour and he died November 28, less than a year after diagnosis.
Now his mums, Lauren and Hayley Bayliss-Watts, who have set up a fundraising Group known as Albie and Beyond under the umbrella of the charity Brain Tumour Research, are stepping up to hold their own fundraising walk.
The five-and-a-half-mile route will start at 2pm on Saturday, September 24 from the Royal Oak in Didcot.
The route will follow a resurfaced former railway line to the George and Dragon in Upton and back again and is suitable for all ages and abilities. Walkers are encouraged to wear fancy dress if they like and are welcome to bring their dogs.
Parking and toilets are available at both pubs, refreshments will be provided and there will be a DJ at the Royal Oak in the evening.
Lauren said: “We are really excited about our Walk of Hope and are expecting the day to be full of happy faces and laughter.
"We miss Albie so dearly and so painfully - he was a whirlwind of a toddler who kept us on our toes all day, every day.
"He made everyone laugh and kept us all going through the toughest of times. We are trying to adopt Albie’s spirit, his zest for life and complete determination to help us cope with life without him.
“Creating Albie and Beyond in our little boy’s memory has been its own whirlwind. It keeps us going and gives us something to focus on.
"We love being a Fundraising Group and are excited to be leading a Walk of Hope on the same day as many others take place across the UK. We hope it’s a great opportunity to raise funds and lots of awareness, while creating lovely memories.”
Brain Tumour Research is encouraging people to take part in the national fundraising event which attracts hundreds of people every September by taking on one of their Walks of Hope across the UK or by setting up one of their own. After registering, supporters will be sent a Walk of Hope t-shirt to wear with pride as you stride, as well as a fundraising pack.
Melanie Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “Brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age. Less than 12% of patients survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.
“We are very grateful to Lauren and Hayley for encouraging their community to get behind them in their fight to find a cure so that other families don’t have to suffer like they have and we wish them all the very best for their Walk of Hope.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK.
It also campaigns for the Government and the 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 £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To find out more about how you can join a Walk of Hope and step forward to help find a cure go to braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/walk-of-hope/organised-walks.
This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.
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