The father of a five-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a brain tumour has raised a whopping £3,500 for the Brain Tumour Charity through the Fireball Rally.
Noel Hendry, 42, from south west Dunstable, is also keen to raise awareness of tumours in children. “It’s far more common than most people imagine,” he said.
His son Archie was only diagnosed after he and his wife paid for a private consultation. Even then it took an MRI to discover that their son – who already suffers from Brugada Syndrome, a rare but serious heart condition – had a pilocytic astrocytoma, a brain tumour occurring most frequently in children and young adults.
Noel explained: “About a year ago, my wife noticed that Archie’s head was tilting to the side.
“She went to the doctor but was not taken seriously and we ended up going private to push for an MRI because they thought it was something to do with his neck muscle.
“We were very shocked when the MRI revealed Archie had a massive tumour. He was rushed to Addenbrooke’s for an operation. Luckily it was Grade 1 and in an accessible part of the brain.
“We’ve had many ups and downs since then but he goes for regular checks and the prognosis is good.”
Throughout their nightmare, the Hendrys and their eight-year-old daughter Emily received amazing support from the Brain Tumour Charity, which is why Noel and seven friends signed up for the fundraising Fireball Rally, covering 2,000 miles and eight countries in four days.
He said: “We’re a group of car enthusiasts and we went in four great cars, including a 1964 Corvette Mustang and a classic MG convertible.
“But it was quite an endurance test because the conditions were poor, the weather was bad and the roads were slippery. We drove eight hours a day and camped every night.
“But it didn’t dampen our spirits. We were all there raising money and helping each other when things got difficult. Our target was £1,000 and the amount we raised was amazing, it really will make a difference.”
Noel’s thinking of doing something else for the charity but said: “It might have to be more of a personal challenge.”
> Sponsor Noel at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Noel-Hendry