A MALVERN woman celebrated her 60th birthday by jumping 13,000ft out of a plane to raise funds to help find a cure for brain tumours.
Jane Godfrey’s challenge at Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield near Brackley, Northamptonshire, was inspired by three people living with the devastating disease.
Among them was Ben Lindon from Ledbury who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour 12 years ago, aged 29.
He has had radiotherapy and over 100 cycles of chemotherapy, yet, despite his condition, he has taken on a number of gruelling challenges to raise funds for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
They included running the London Marathon, climbing the Three Peaks, cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End and kayaking 100km down the River Wye whilst on his 100th cycle of chemotherapy.
Ben has seizures as a result of his brain tumour and has twice had to undergo intensive rehabilitation after they led to massive strokes. His latest has meant him moving into sheltered housing and relying on a wheelchair and mobility scooter to get around.
Against all the odds, Ben fathered two children, Martha and Sidney, now eight (tomorrow) and six respectively. He needs someone to help him look after them when they come to visit him and relies on Jane, when other family members cannot be present.
Jane said: “Ben is amazing, so positive and inspiring. I am really happy to be raising money for the same amazing charity.
“As well as Ben, my friend’s daughter Sarah has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour and I have another friend whose son Charlie was diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour, aged five.
“He endured several craniotomies, followed by intensive treatment in the form of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
“It has been horrendous watching Charlie going through this but he is a little fighter. The drugs used have not changed in 50 years, sadly due to a lack of investment in research.”
Jane’s 60th birthday was on March 11 and her jump was originally scheduled for March 21 but it fell victim to the pandemic.
“The next date was put off due to high winds so I thought third time lucky.
“I arrived at the airfield and was harnessed up and walking to the plane when the heavens opened and torrential rain put a spanner in the works once again.”
Jane’s jump finally went ahead on September 11.
“It was such an amazing experience.
“Most of my friends and family thought I was totally bonkers and when I was sat on the edge of the plane waiting to jump, I thought that maybe they were right!
“My feelings of uncertainty soon dissipated once the parachute opened and I witnessed fluffy white clouds and fantastic views.
“I even had control of the parachute myself for part of the descent.
“On landing all I could say was ‘amazing, amazing, amazing. I would happily do it again.
“I am delighted so many people have donated – I have more than exceeded my target of £1,000.
“We desperately need to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure for this terrible disease.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Melanie Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful to Jane for her support and congratulate her on her courage to jump out of a plane as part of her 60th birthday celebrations.”
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 calling 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 and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To add your donation to Jane’s fundraising page, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jane-godfrey5