JUST three years ago, at the age of only 28, Mark Wright was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
But in April, Mark, from Layton, is aiming to help others in the same situation, when he runs the London Marathon, on behalf of charity Brain Tumour UK.
After his shock diagnosis, Mark – a chef – had to undergo pioneering surgery in London, under one of the country’s top specialists, to remove the tumour.
At the time it appeared the operation had been a success, but a year later, he was given the devastating news there was still some residual tumour too small to operate on.
Mark, now 31, suffered a seizure on Christmas Day last year, while he was working in the kitchens at The Marriott Hotel, Preston. It is not known whether the episode was connected to the tumour, but he has not been allowed in a kitchen to work for 12 months, to ensure his and his colleagues’ safety.
Mark also has to undergo scans and checks every three months, to map any growth in the tumour.
His sister Claire said: “This was a massive blow to Mark, as being a chef is his passion, and part of who he is.
“He sank into depression, and put more and more weight on, reaching 19st.
“I was worried about his health, and suggested he get some exercise and fresh air, and maybe go for a run. He started to run on a regular basis.”
Mark took to running so well, he set himself the challenge of running the London Marathon in 2012. He has lost four stone since starting running.
Mark said: “The training is going really well. I started running after I had to stop work after the seizure on Christmas Day.
“It was really boring being stuck at home, and frustrating. I felt like it was a real setback after I recovering from the surgery to then face this.
“I needed something to keep me occupied, so I started running, and Claire introduced me to one of her friends, who is a personal trainer, and he gave me tips and advice.
“He suggested setting goals, so my first one was the Blackpool 10k, which I did in just over an hour.
“Then I felt I needed something bigger, so decided on the marathon.
“I’ve lost four stone, and feel much better and healthier.
“I feel like I am lucky, in that I can still live my life despite the tumour.
“Other people don’t have that – so I want to raise money for Brain Tumour UK.”
As well as Mark’s marathon effort, his sister Claire and friend Dave Blundell have organised a music night.
Four bands will play at the event, dubbed SandStock, at the new Tache Club – formerly BEAT – on December 4, between 7.30 and 11.30pm. Entry will cost £5, with all funds going to Brain Tumour UK.
Raffle tickets will be on sale to boost the fundraising.
Claire, who also lives in Layton, said: “This cause is very close to the hearts of many, so we want to thank everybody involved from the bottom of ours for all their support with the event.
“The good news is Mark’s leading a normal life again, the tumour hasn’t grown, as yet, and he’s probably fitter than he’s been for years, thanks to the training he’s been doing.
“He has received an incredible amount of support from his personal trainer, Richard from Gym Buddies.
“We’re now really looking forward to the band night.”
To sponsor Mark in the marathon, log onto www.justgiving.com/mark-wright8
For more information about Sand Stock – tickets are available on the door – call Claire 0790 326 0233.