BY TOBY PORTER
Two sisters have completed an epic endurance challenge in tribute to a friend who died less than a year after being diagnosed with a brain
Belinda and Stephanie Ensten, from Brockley, took part in ultra-marathon Race to the King from June 22 to raise funds for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
The sisters raised £3,810 towards research into the disease, which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
Belinda and Stephanie lost their friend, 27-year-old Daniel Dewar, to the devastating disease in October last year. He was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in November 2017 but just six months later his prognosis changed when the tumour was found to be aggressive.
Their fundraising target was £2,740 – the amount it costs per day to sponsor a Brain Tumour Research centre of excellence.
Having smashed their target, Belinda and Steph are now planning to commission a unique tile, including a special message to be placed on a Wall of Hope at one of the centres.
The sisters’ challenge involved a 53-mile run along the South Downs Way. The duo completed 23.4 miles on day one, climbing 2,718ft. They then had little time for recovery before tackling a 30-mile run and 2,333ft climb on day two.
Stephanie, who works in sponsorship and marketing at The O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula, said: “What an amazing challenge. It was a really tough weekend but such a thrill to cross that finish line knowing we’d raised so much for a cause close to our hearts.
“We had some great support along the way, and a big thank-you to all of our sponsors.”
Belinda, a 27-year-old midwife, said: “That was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. Thinking of Dan’s determination and the suffering of people and their families with brain tumours got me through. But it did get pretty bleak around mile 40 when my blisters were building.
I feel so grateful to Steph for supporting me through it – and of course to everyone donating and encouraging us through.
“I feel a bit lost now it’s over, but looking forward to getting that tile on the Wall of Hope and continuing Dan’s legacy.
“We would love to honour Dan by commissioning a special tile in his memory to place on a Wall of Hope.
By reaching the milestone £2,740, we’ll be making a significant contribution to Brain Tumour Research’s goal to raise £1 million a year for each of their centres, which carry out long-term peer-reviewed research.”
The charity funds sustainable research at these four dedicated centres in the UK.
It also campaigns for the Government and the 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.
Brain Tumour Research is calling for an annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.
Janice Wright, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in London, said: “Belinda and Stephanie’s determination to fundraise for us is inspirational, and we can’t thank them enough for their amazing efforts.
They did amazingly well to run their first ultra- marathon in 17 hours 32 minutes.
“Dan’s story reminds us that brain tumours kill more men under the age of 45 than prostate cancer yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”
It’s not too late to donate. To make a donation, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TeamDewar1