A doctor who only took up running a year ago has completed his first half marathon to raise money for a charity which funds research into the disease that killed his mum.
Oliver Mitchell, of Colliers Wood, ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon on Sunday in aid of Brain Tumour Research, a charity he and his family have supported since the death of his beloved mum, Sue.
The 28-year-old, who is a doctor of acute medicine at St George’s Hospital in Blackshaw Road, Tooting, said: “Mum was a tenacious person and her entire life ethos was that life goes on.
“After people go the world doesn’t stand still, you shouldn’t let people’s lives go to waste and my brothers, my dad and I have tried to keep living our lives in that way.”
Sue’s earliest symptoms included headaches, which were particularly bad in the mornings, tiredness and a loss of interest in things she had previously loved doing, such as playing tennis.
She struggled with them for some time and was even misdiagnosed as being menopausal before she found out she had a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in December 2011 at the age of 52.
The mum-of-three underwent a craniotomy, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and enjoyed a period of about two-and-a-half years where she lived symptom-free, but she died less than four years after her diagnosis, in May 2015.
Oliver said: “Mum struggled harder than she should have to get a diagnosis. Most people know there’s something wrong with them and end up having to fight quite hard.
“As a clinician I’d encourage people to get investigations if they feel like their voice isn’t being heard.
“At work I see people with the same diagnosis as my mum so there’s always an opportunity to reflect on my own personal experience when I see it from a professional perspective.”
Oliver finished the 13.1-mile race through Central London in one hour and 52 minutes, raising more than £1,000 for the charity he so passionately supports.
He said: “The atmosphere was fantastic. It was quite emotional seeing so many people collected together, generally because of a shared grief about the issue they were running for, but great to see so many dedicated and passionate people.”
He added: “So little government funding goes towards brain tumour research that the situation is almost criminal.
“Brain tumours aren’t a cancer of the elderly. They’re a cancer of the entire age spectrum, which means it’s not just children mourning the loss of their parents, it’s parents mourning the loss of their children.
“Survival figures are so awful that I don’t know how we can expect anyone being given a brain tumour diagnosis to leave hospital with even an ounce of hope. This has to change. They have to be given the opportunity to take part in clinical trials and we have to raise awareness because most in that situation are too debilitated to do it themselves so I don’t think people know how serious it is.”
To support Oliver’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/O-MITCHELL.
Pictured top: Oliver with his mum, Sue