Cricket star's brain tumour battle inspires Liz to go the extra mile

On Sunday, Keighley teacher Liz Farley will only have one thing on her mind when she is running the London Marathon for Brain Tumour Research –her boyfriend, former England cricketer Alan Igglesden, known affectionately as Iggy.

"It will be my first ever marathon", says Liz, 30, "and I hope to raise 5,000 to help beat brain tumours."

Liz, a teacher at Woodhouse Grove School, Apperley Bridge, is joining more than 30 other fund-raisers in Brain Tumour UK's London Marathon team.

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Iggy, 45, was diagnosed with a brain tumour a year after leaving first-class cricket. Despite the devastating diagnosis, medication allowed him to live with his condition.

However, last summer, Iggy had to have major surgery at Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital.

"I'd always known that Iggy had a brain tumour, but he dealt with it so well and it seemed to be lying dormant and so it wasn't part of our life," explains Liz.

"Then, suddenly last June, it decided to grow, at quite a rate. He had a major brain operation and excellent treatment in Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital and is now undergoing a course of chemotherapy."

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The surgery left him paralysed down his left side and he lost his memory of the last few years.

"Slowly, that has come back," says Liz. "He is amazing and keeps on laughing and joking.

"I cannot begin to explain the wide-ranging effects of a brain tumour: apart from the obvious physical effects on balance and the body's motor functions, which, for a former professional sportsman, were bad enough, there are less obvious but more far-reaching psychological effects, as well as dramatic loss of memory, which together eat at a person's character, eroding their everyday abilities and corroding their confidence.

"However, despite all this, Iggy is Iggy; and the Iggy I know and love returns a little more each day."

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Throughout the last year, Liz and Iggy have both been touched and

impressed by all the help and support they have received from the NHS professionals, MacMillan nurses, BTUK and their friends and family.

"I have just felt like I haven't been able to do anything, so then I thought I could do the London Marathon and at least I would be doing something.

"The training has been really hard as it is just so boring to be out there running for three hours at a time. I hope to achieve a time of four hours 30 minutes, but anything will do.

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"I am aiming to raise money and awareness for Brain Tumour UK. Brain tumour research is frighteningly under-funded and, as a result, it is falling far behind the research into the other main cancers, yet it is a cancer that affects adults and children no matter how healthy and fit they are."

Brain Tumour UK's head of fundraising, Claire Glazebrook, explains: "A brain tumour can rob people of their sight, hearing, speech, the ability to run or even their life, so a marathon is a great way to raise awareness about this serious condition.

"Around 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year in the UK, and a further 32,000 people may develop brain cancer from a tumour elsewhere in the body.

"The funds raised will help our charity continue to provide much-needed support, fund vital research and raise awareness, to help everyone affected by a brain tumour."

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You can support Liz's fundraising by making a donation online at:


Brain Tumour UK is the leading caring charity committed to fighting brain tumours by providing support, funding research and raising awareness.

Brain Tumour UK has an extensive website full of useful information for patients and carers. With the support of thousands of generous donors and fundraisers, Brain Tumour UK funds world-class scientific research to improve quality of life for brain tumour patients, identify better treatments and, ultimately, defeat the disease.

Raising awareness, Brain Tumour UK works closely with patients, their families, healthcare professionals, scientists and related organisations.

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