Hundreds of supporters, including one of Norfolk’s most famous faces, took part in a fundraising walk at Holkham Hall on Sunday for a brain tumour charity.
People who have seen loved ones cut down by cancer or who are themselves sufferers came together to walk for the Astro Brain Tumour Fund, which dedicates itself to research into low-grade gliomas.
A glioma is a slow growing brain tumour which always results in the eventual death of a patient who may live for between 5 to 25 years.
At Holkham it is a day dedicated to remembering those who have died and those who have the disease and their families.
The walk is now in its 11th year and has proved to be a popular event with an average of over 400 taking part each year.
The courses ranged from one and 10 miles. The one mile walk caters for children with games at the half-way mark, while the 10 mile route leaves Holkham and takes in nearby Wells-next-the-Sea. Last year walkers covered a total of 1,650 miles.
It is also a day to raise money for the fund. The event normally raises between £8,000 - £14,000. “It is now one of the charity’s main fund-raising events,” said treasurer, Mary Burton.
One regular walker is BT football presenter, Jake Humphrey, who was there with his wife, Harriet, whose friend died of the tumour seven years ago.
He said: “We’ve done the walk for the last five or six years in honour of Harriet’s school friend. It’s a tumour that is very rare, doesn’t affect very many people and doesn’t get many headlines but the turnout today is brilliant.”
Katie Sheen, who founded the charity in 2001, said: “My sister’s husband, Paul, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2000. Initially I started the charity to try and save Paul but he died at the age of 35.
“Most people you see today have been touched by a brain tumour in their personal lives. So you’ll see big groups of people walking together either in support of someone who is still fighting a brain tumour or in memory of people they’ve lost to a brain tumour.”
Mrs Sheen added that it was quite an emotional day for many people.
“You can feel alone when you are fighting a cancer. But when you can come to an event like this and connect with other people you realise you are not alone.”
Progress has been made in prolonging the life of brain tumour sufferers since Mrs Sheen founded the charity. There have been advances in surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. But there is still no cure for a malignant cancer that can spawn rogue cells throughout the body.
Mrs Sheen said: “We are only a small part of a global campaign. People all over the world are doing sponsored walks. We all add our miles together. When we started we circled the world once. Now we do it countless times.”
Supporters also included one Lynn businesswoman who brought a jar filled with donations made by customers in her shop and who has raised £6,000 that way over the past three years.
To learn more of the work of the charity, email Mary Burton at: firstname.lastname@example.org.