16th Sep, 2019

Rowing challenge to celebrate Iona's brain tumour survival

A PROUD Solihull mum will be celebrating her daughter’s survival of a brain tumour by taking on an epic ten-hour indoor rowing challenge.

Ten years ago, Iona Atkins – aged just five at the time – underwent brain surgery which lasted ten-hours.

Brain tumours reduce life expectancy by an average of 20 years, and just 19 per cent of adults will survive for five years after diagnosis.

Each year, 10,600 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour – with research offering the only real hope of dramatic improvements in management and treatment.

However, exactly ten years after her daughter’s treatment, mum Ann Atkins will be rowing as far as she can in a ten-hour period.

Since starting indoor rowing four years ago, Ann has completed four ‘Row For It’ events – which last year saw more than 60 people take over Touchwood Shopping Centre and row various distances to raise £28,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity.

In preparation for this year’s event, Ann said her daughter’s life has inspired her to do all she can to try and change the prognosis for those with brain tumours.

She added: “Iona has been through so much in the last 10-years but she has survived to tell the tale unlike many others who have lost their life to this devastating condition.

“Unfortunately the funding into brain tumour research is pitiful and the Brain Tumour Charity are trying so hard to change that.”

Ann’s passion for indoor rowing has blossomed since she first took to the machines, and she now holds numerous national titles including a world record and a pair of British records.

Currently, less than two per cent of the £498 million invested into cancer research funding has been spent on brain tumours.

The ten-hour challenge will start from 10am at the Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, who have supported the row since it started in 2013.

Fitness instructor Kirsty Pittman will join Ann to row the first 10,000m before Derrick Towell will join the determined mum to conclude the fundraising event with personal trainer Ali Seal also joining in.

Jen Boilestad, community fundraiser at the Brain Tumour Charity – the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours – said: “Brain tumours are the largest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.

“Our mission is to fund and promote research to improve understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of brain tumours and ultimately find a cure.

“We are immensely proud of all that Ann and her family and friends do for the charity.”

Registration’s are now open for the charity’s Row For It event from Friday, May 19, until Sunday, May 21, at Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull.

Visit www.justgiving.com/Rowforit100k to support Ann in her ten-hour row where all donations are welcome.

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