Blackpool Vic admin given 12 to 18 months to live defies the odds to take on month-long fitness challenge

A Blackpool Victoria Hospital admin who was given just 12 to 18 months to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour has signed up to walk 10,000 steps a day to help find a cure for the disease.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 9:50 am

Zara Taylor, 31, was given her devastatingly short prognosis in January last year, after suffering several seizures and being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a fast-growing, malignant tumour which attacks the brain and spinal cord.

One year on, despite the daily challenges, she remains committed to living her life to the full - and has now signed up for a new challenge in aid of Brain Tumour Research.

She said: “Since my diagnosis, I have undergone surgery, as well as six weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which I completed last October. It was a big relief to finish as the treatment literally knocked me for six. I felt so sick and couldn’t eat, ending up losing around 20kg.

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Zara Taylor with her dogs

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“I know my prognosis is poor, but I have heard of some GBM patients surviving for six, or even 10 years, and I am determined to be one of them. I try to stop thinking about what might happen, but it can be very hard, especially on big family occasions, particularly birthdays.

“My husband Jordan and I had only been married just over a year when I had the seizures which led to my diagnosis. We have two lovely Shar Pei dogs, Lola and Tia, whom I very much hope to outlive.

“For now, I am focusing on making memories, although the pandemic isn’t helping our plans to travel."

Zara and Adele

Since completing her treatment, Zara has set up Zara’s Appeal for a Cure, a fundraising group under national charity Brain Tumour Research, to help fund research to bring about better outcomes for brain tumour patients and ultimately a cure.

Brain tumours 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.

Having already raised more than £4,000 through taking part in Brain Tumour Research’s 'Jog 26 Miles in May' challenge last year, Zara has signed up to take part in the charity’s Walk 10,000 Steps in February challenge with her friend Adele Broadley, who works in the Costa coffee shop at Blackpool Vic.

Zara, who lives off Midgeland Road with her husband Jordan, said: “I am looking forward to getting together with Adele as I don’t see her so much now that I am working from home. We will probably do most of our walking round Stanley Park and enjoy having a good chat. Sometimes I’ll be walking with Lola and Tia. It will be a great way of keeping fit and enjoying some fresh air while keeping up with what’s going on at the hospital."

Last year, Brain Tumour Research’s 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge raised nearly £1m nationwide.

The charity is calling for people to step up to the Facebook challenge and make it even bigger and better in 2022. Participants will receive a free emoji t-shirt and fundraising pack when they receive their first donation and a special medal if they raise £274 or more.

Matthew Price, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “The best part of the 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge is that you can fit your steps in with your everyday life. That could be having a coffee and catching up with friends at your local park, walking your commute or school run instead of driving, getting off the bus a few stops earlier or walking around your house whilst on the phone. You could even team up with friends or colleagues and complete your steps together!

“We are very grateful to Zara for her ongoing support and to Adele too for signing up to take part in 10,000 Steps a Day to fund vital research to find a cure for brain tumours. Less than 12 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers.”

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