King's Lynn woman fundraising in partner's memory by taking part in Wear A Hat Day
At a time of unprecedented worldwide uncertainty, a Lynn mum is thinking of others and fundraising to ensure research continues to find a cure for brain tumours.
Kia Napthen, 34, is taking part in Wear A Hat Day this Friday to fundraise for Brain Tumour Research, after she lost her partner of 10 years Robin Todhunter on January 3 this year. Robin had turned 50 on Christmas Eve.
Officials at Brain Tumour Research say the charity is facing a potential 50 per cent loss in annual income over the next three months due to the national emergency, and need the support more than ever.
Kia, who gave up her job as a recruitment manager to look after Robin, said: “It was such a shock when Robin was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) at the beginning of July last year after suffering with severe headaches for a number of weeks.
"We were told that this type of tumour was very aggressive, with a shockingly low average survival prognosis of just 12 to 18 months."
Robin underwent surgery to 'debulk' the tumour, and then radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
"A scan showed that the chemotherapy wasn’t working as the tumour was growing again, so Robin was put on the stronger PCV chemotherapy (a combination of procarbazine, lomustine and vincristine).
"However, he only had one cycle of PCV before deteriorating very quickly.
“Our son together, Oliver, seven, who goes to Greyfriars Primary School and I lost the most important man in our lives on 3 January.
"We are devastated. It has changed our whole lives.
"Having to watch the man you love deteriorate in such a cruel way is something that will never leave me.
"We were told we would have 12 to 18 months left together, but we only got six months. We miss him so much.
“Now I am on my own with Oliver and my three older children from another relationship. Robin also had two other children of his own.
“Brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any age and kill more men under the age of 70 than prostate cancer."
Kia said she signed up to hold a Wear A Hat Day event this Friday, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, their plans have changed and will now be doing this at home.
"Meanwhile, my sister, Nicole Fenn, who manages the kitchen at Churchill Park Complex Needs School in Fairstead, King’s Lynn, is hoping that the school will go ahead with Wear A Hat Day at a later date,” she added.
Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are thinking about Kia at this very difficult time, so soon after losing her beloved partner Robin, and are very grateful to her for supporting Wear A Hat Day to help find better outcomes for patients and ultimately a cure.
“Our vital research is at risk because of the national emergency we are now in.
"We are in danger of losing the great progress we have made.
"We need people to support Wear A Hat Day on 27 March more than ever and are urging people to look at our website.
"We have come up with some ideas for people to help us on Wear A Hat Day from the comfort of their own home.
“Brain Tumour Research is facing a potential 50 per cent loss in annual income over the next three months, equating to some £2 million, so please do what you can to help. Thank you.”
Less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50per cent across all cancers.
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.
Sign up to Wear A Hat Day at home at www.wearahatday.org.
You can donate to Kia’s fundraising via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kia-Napthen.
More by this authorRebekah Chilvers