Family and friends cycle 280 miles in memory of loved ones Llst to brain tumours

Family and friends of a loving mum and a dad who both died of brain tumours within just seven weeks of each other, are preparing for their epic cycle ride this week.

The group will be on their bikes from Thursday, June 6, riding 280-miles from Bury St Edmunds to Cullompton, hoping to raise £8,500 for Brain Tumour Research.

It is all the idea of Ben Brown, of Tiverton, who discovered how underfunded brain tumour research is, following the death of his uncle Steve Morrissey, 50, and his partner Ali Slaymaker, 49. It has inspired him and a group of nine other family members, friends and work colleagues of Steve’s to organise the charity ride,

Following the death of Ali on August 24, 2023, Steve and their daughter moved from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, to Cullompton to be near his family. He passed away at Exeter hospice Searle House on October 12.

He had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, the fastest growing type of brain tumour, in 2022, after suddenly suffering a seizure out of the blue. Glioblastoma is the most common type of malignant brain tumour in adults, with a devastatingly short average survival time of six months if untreated and only 12 to 18 months with an intensive and invasive treatment plan.

Contruction worker Ben said: “We lost both him and Ali in such a short space of time. It really is heartbreaking the whole situation.

“Thankfully their daughter is doing amazing considering what she has been through. She is astonishing.”

Paying tribute to Steve, Ben said: “He was a lovely, nice, generous man who would do anything for anyone.”

The fundraising challenge will take four days with the group having to complete 70-miles of cycling each day. Ben, who only bought a bike last December, has been training since the beginning of the year.

He admitted: “I’ve never, ever done a long bike ride before. It’s going to be really tough physically and mentally but everyone has been training hard for it so we should be okay.

“I wanted to do something for my uncle in his memory and, even more importantly, raise money for Brain Tumour Research because it is so underfunded. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

“I lost two members of my family to it last year and in 2014 one of my childhood best friends died of a brain tumour. Watching how brain tumours rip families into pieces has made me realise we need to help make a change and I am attempting to do that by doing something positive.”

The group have so far raised more than £7,500, with £250 from generous donations at the recent Tiverton Farmers Market and Garden Festival.

If you want to donate to the fundraiser, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/stevesride