Mum-of-four spurred on by family to raise money for brain tumour charity

Hayley Lawrence completed the 26.2-mile London Marathon on Sunday in 5:26:50.

Hayley Lawrence completed the 26.2-mile London Marathon on Sunday in 5:26:50. Pictured here with her son Isaac, Phil Lawrence and daughter Alice. - Credit: Family

A Huntingdon mum’s marathon efforts have raised more than £3,300 for Brain Tumour Research to help people like her husband who has an inoperable brain tumour.  

Hayley Lawrence completed the 26.2-mile Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday in 5:26:50.   

She ran to help families, like hers, who have been impacted by brain tumours and in memory of her daughter’s friend, Amelia Sellens, who died of a brain tumour at the age of 13.  

The 49-year-old, who took up running less than four years ago, said: “Sunday was by far the toughest yet most amazing thing I have done.   

“The crowds and support from the outset were incredible. The homemade signs, the drinks, jelly babies and cheers from the first mile were absolutely unimaginable.   

Hayley Lawrence completed the 26.2-mile London Marathon on Sunday in 5:26:50.

Hayley Lawrence completed the 26.2-mile London Marathon on Sunday in 5:26:50. Pictured with friend Justina Newman. - Credit: Family

“Seeing my family popping up at various points along the route and telling me how proud they were of me spurred me on.”  

Hayley’s husband, Phil, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007, just weeks after waking in the night to a ‘massive seizure’.   

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The couple, who have four children, were given the shocking news by their doctor after having a CT scan and were quickly referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, for an MRI.  

After two biopsies, a craniotomy and multiple scans taken months apart, the couple were warned if the tumour was progressive there was nothing else that could be done because it covered such a large area and was so deep in Phil’s brain.  

After a “torturous” two-week wait they finally got the news they had been hoping for, that Phil’s grade 1 ganglioglioma had not grown.   

Now almost 15 years later, the tumour remains stable, with Phil making regular visits to the opticians to "keep an eye on things".  

Amelia, though, was not so lucky, with her life cut short by a brain tumour less than three years ago. Her tumour was the same type as Phil’s but, unlike his, which is located on the temporal lobe, hers was on the brainstem.  

Hayley said: “She was my inspiration to run the marathon, because of the determination she put into everything – she was an amazing girl and nothing stopped her.” 

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Carol Robertson, national events manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re grateful to Hayley for taking on this huge challenge to help fund vital research into brain tumours.  

“Amelia’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age.  

“It was her strength and determination that inspired Hayley to run the marathon and it really was a pleasure to watch as she crossed the finish line on Sunday.” 

The charity is looking for people to join its team for next year’s TCS London Marathon, which will take place on Sunday October 2 2022. The ballot opened on Sunday October 3 and closes on Friday October 8 2021. 

The charity is encouraging budding participants to double their chances by signing up for a Brain Tumour Research charity place. They have a limited number of places available.

To support Hayley’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hayley-lawrence11.

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