By John Ensor • 26 August 2023 • 19:59
Credit: chaloemsak seesaikam/Shutterstock.com
WHEN Mark Hughes’ father, Chris, passed away at 62 this year, the bond they shared over cycling inspired Mark to embark on a poignant 274-mile journey. Carrying his father’s ashes, he set out on an emotional ride.
Chris wasn’t just Mark’s father; he was his best friend, even standing as the best man at Mark’s wedding the previous year. Tragically, a few months post the joyous occasion, Chris began experiencing severe headaches. In March 2023, he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, writes Wales Online.
By July 15, at Ystrad Mynach Hospital, surrounded by loved ones, Chris departed, merely four months post-diagnosis. Mark expressed his desire to share this heart-wrenching tale, hoping it might prompt others to be vigilant about potential brain tumours, regardless of age or health.
A mere two days after the funeral, Mark began his month-long cycling expedition around Wales on Chris’s mountain bike. This journey wasn’t just a tribute to his father but also a mission to fundraise for Brain Tumour Research. Mark, hailing from Rogerstone, Gwent, mentioned how his dad was always on the move, be it running or cycling: ‘When I saw the challenge it seemed a fitting way to celebrate something he loved while raising awareness of brain tumours.’
In the UK, 16,000 individuals receive a brain tumour diagnosis annually, with a mere 12 per cent surviving beyond five years post-diagnosis. This ailment claims more lives of those under 40 than any other cancer type. Shockingly, only one per cent of cancer research funds are directed towards brain tumours, as stated by the charity Brain Tumour Research.
Mark hopes that by participating in this endeavour he will motivate individuals to seek medical advice if they harbour any doubts: ‘I hope that by raising money for research, we can understand more about the disease and have better treatment options and overall outcomes for patients and their families.
‘I’m going to cover most of the distance on my road bike but for about 40 miles I’m going to ride from Merthyr Tydfil down the Taff trail to Cardiff and then on to my house alongside close friends. I know dad would be proud of what I’m doing, and he’d be doing it with me if he was here.’
As Mark nears the end of his challenging journey this weekend, he’s already amassed over £4,000 through JustGiving.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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