Southsea mum’s marathon Miles in May challenge inspired by partner’s 12-year brain tumour battle

A SOUTHSEA mum is taking on a marathon fundraising challenge inspired by her partner’s 12-year brain tumour battle.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 10:36 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 10:39 am

Former amateur boxer Josh Leigh was fit and healthy when he was diagnosed with a low-grade oligodendroglioma in 2010 at the age of 25.

Over the past 12 years, the now 37-year-old plasterer has undergone radiotherapy and has just completed 18 months of chemotherapy.

After suffering a seizure out of the blue, a scan at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester revealed a shadow on his brain. Due to its slow-growing nature he was monitored with regular scans.

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The whole family.

Shortly after his son was born, in 2016 a routine scan showed Josh’s tumour had grown and he underwent six rounds of chemotherapy.

In September 2020, a scan revealed the devastating news the tumour had grown further and Josh underwent seven weeks of intense radiotherapy treatment at Portsmouth Hospital.

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Partner Katie Jenkins, 37, said: ‘It was just after our son Rayne was born when we found out that Josh’s tumour had grown and this time he would need treatment.

Katie and Rayne.

‘We were told that had the tumour had been at this stage when he was first diagnosed there would have been limited treatment options.

‘In a way, we feel fortunate that things happened this way round.

‘He’s always been fit and healthy and even now you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him which makes it harder to deal with.’

The couple have two children: five-year-old Rayne, and eight-year-old Cicely.

Josh Leigh outside hospital before his treatment.

Motivated by her partner’s diagnosis, Katie is fundraising for Brain Tumour Research by taking part in Jog 26.2 Miles in May Challenge, clocking up a distance of 18 miles already.

Katie, a teacher, added: ‘I hate running, but the fact it is for charity helps to keep me going when I am out. It’s something I have been able to do with the children and Josh when he is feeling up to it.

‘It’s such an accessible challenge and one where we can make memories as a family too.

‘I’m so proud of Josh for how he has handled everything that has been thrown at him so far. ‘We don’t know what the future will bring but we are staying positive and getting on with our lives as best we can.’

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research as well as campaigning for the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: ‘We’re sorry to hear about Josh’s diagnosis and wish him well in his continuing treatment.

‘Josh’s story is a stark reminder of how indiscriminate brain tumours are, affecting anyone at any age.

‘They kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

‘We’re determined to change this and are so grateful for the support of people like Katie whose fundraising efforts enable us to continue funding vital research and to, ultimately, find a cure.’

Donate to Katie’s fundraiser at facebook.com/donate/513662146868939.