Marathon effort for brain cancer battler

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Kingston local Leigh Henderson has returned to the Point to Pinnacle to raise funds and awareness for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation just months after invasive surgery to treat a brain tumour left him re-learning how to walk.

For Leigh, being diagnosed with brain cancer came as a shock, never thinking that symptoms he experienced during the 2018 Point to Pinnacle could herald such disastrous news.

“I basically had to crawl the last 7kms up the hill,” said Leigh.

“I’d had a few electric shock feelings in my head and thought it could be from cold weather or stress, but a tumour?

“That’s the last thing I’d think.”

In May 2019, Leigh and his wife Helen were on a cruise in Alaska when they fell sick with the flu.

fter seeing a doctor on the boat, Leigh was immediately rushed hospital.

“The doctor noticed that I had a droop on one side of my mouth and thought I’d had a stroke.

“When I went to get an MRI at the hospital, they saw something inside my head and flew us by emergency plane to Seattle for treatment.

“I had my first brain surgery to remove the tumour just a few days later,” Leigh said.

After heading home to Tasmania, Leigh underwent a second surgery and began six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy at Icon Hobart.

Leigh says the convenience of receiving cancer treatment so close to home was wonderful for him and his family, particularly after the stress of overseas medical treatment.

As a marathon runner and cyclist, through all of his treatment Leigh has continued to do what he loves.

“I’ve run the Point to Pinnacle five times before, but this time it means something different.

“Now my whole perspective is how I can help other people down the line by raising money for brain cancer research.

“We quickly met our goal of $5000, so now we’re looking to raise $10,000!”

In Australia, the chance of surviving at least five years with brain cancer is just 22 per cent.

With a goal of improving the survival rate for brain cancer to 50 per cent by 2023, the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation are incredibly proud of Leigh and all he is achieving.

Leigh is now looking at participating in Phase I clinical trials, so the support of groups like Icon and the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is something that hits close to home.

For many people with brain cancer, research and clinical trials play a significant role when traditional treatments aren’t suitable.

Icon Medical Oncologist Dr Cristina Moldovan said that the group see the impact that cancer has on patients every day and that Icon wants to allow people to access the latest treatments and clinical trials, giving more hope for those suffering from brain cancer and Icon Hobart are encouraging the community to join them in supporting Leigh and this important cause.

Team Leigh crossed the finish line of the alternate route, 'Point to Pub' half marathon at the Longley Hotel on Sunday, November 17, having raised
awareness and $7373 towards brain cancer research.

A mountain-top finish was ruled out by organisers for this year's Point to Pinnacle due to ice, snow and 70km/h winds.

Pictured above: Leigh and his family completed the half marathon with a show of solidarity and support by crossing the finish line holding hands and the group were also able to meet fellow advocate Carrie Bickmore, who participated in this year's event. (PS)