AFTER losing his mother to brain cancer, a student has vowed to raise cash to help find a cure.
Mark Stephenson from Fareham was left heartbroken when mum Carol Cooper, aged 53, died from an aggressive brain tumour in August 2000.
The 50-year-old Bournemouth University student has struggled to come to terms with her death from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)
He said: ‘It was a dreadful shock to lose Mum just weeks after her diagnosis and I feel as if I didn’t process the grief until about two years ago. Counselling helped me to come to terms with my loss and I realised that I’d been keeping a lot to myself.
‘She was a beautiful person inside and out. Nothing could ever replace her.’
‘He added: It’s only now I feel ready to share Mum’s story and to be able to put pictures up of her around the house.’
Now, almost 19 years on, he is passionate about bringing people together to work out a potential cure for GBM to help future victims and is holding a Wear a Hat Day later this month in partnership with Brain Tumour Research.
Students and staff across the campus will don hats of all kinds on Friday March 29 to support Mark’s cause.
He said: ‘I was delighted when the students’ union agreed to support me in my fundraising efforts for Brain Tumour Research. We will be taking part in the charity’s annual Wear A Hat Day fundraiser in March, in a bid to raise vital funds and awareness.
‘I was moved to hear that several other students had also been affected by a brain tumour and I hope that through fundraising it brings us that one step closer to finding a cure.’
Fundraising officials have welcomed Mark’s plans.
Tim Green, senior community fundraising manager in the South East, said: ‘It’s touching that the students and staff at Bournemouth University are so committed to fundraising to support Mark.
‘Sadly, Carol’s story is not uncommon. Less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years. We cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are thankful for Mark’s ongoing support and we hope that he inspires others to take part.’
Wear a Hat Day is an annual event held by Brain Tumour Research and the proceeds raised go towards funding Centres of Excellence including the lab based at the University of Portsmouth which seeks to find a cure.
To donate to Mark’s JustGiving page visit justgiving.com/fundraising/thecartooncommando