Lowestoft-based Suffolk County Council worker to brave skydive to raise money for Brain Tumour Research
A Suffolk County Council worker is preparing to jump out of a plane to raise money for a cancer charity after her niece was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The mum-of-two, who is a quality and access worker for Suffolk County Council’s early years and childcare services, as well as bank staff at the James Paget University Hospital’s neonatal unit, has found inspiration to take on the challenge from her niece, 24-year-old Rhiannon Mortimer who is a brain tumour patient.
Lynda said: "It’s made her look at life differently and, although it’s caused her more anxiety and stress, she’s developed an attitude where she just gets on with things now. I can’t believe how strong she’s been and it makes me really proud of her."
Rhiannon, also from Lowestoft, was diagnosed with an optic nerve sheath meningioma in November 2020 and had to undergo months of tests, including lumbar punctures, MRI scans, CT scans and a biopsy. It followed a referral by Specsavers after changes in her vision.
Rhiannon is now being monitored with regular tests having had seven months of radiotherapy last year. Despite being left partially-sighted, she is learning to adjust and is keen to raise awareness of brain tumours.
Lynda added: "I wanted to do something to raise awareness of brain tumours and I’ve always said that I’ll try anything once so this is going to be one of those things. It’s very close to home with my niece being affected and, having realised how little funds and awareness there is, I thought ‘if I’m going to do this, why not use it to fund-raise for Brain Tumour Research?’
"I’m in good health at the moment and, seeing what happened to Rhiannon, which was so unexpected and drawn out, put things into perspective by reminding me that you never know what’s going to happen; the time is now and I’ve got to do this.
"When I think of everything she’s gone through over the past few years, throwing myself out of a plane seems like nothing in comparison. She doesn’t know what she’s up against whereas I’ve just got to jump!"
"It’s been quite an eye-opener because, before Rhiannon’s diagnosis, we didn’t know much about brain tumours. You hear about other cancers but no one ever really talks about brain tumours, which is why it’s so important for us to do what we can to help raise the profile of the charity.
"Her tumour was on her optic nerve and she was passed from person to person and hospital to hospital before finding out that she had a brain tumour. We can’t help but wonder if she was diagnosed and treated sooner whether some of her vision could have been saved. I can’t do any more for Rhiannon, what’s happened has happened, but someone else will be able to benefit from the money I raise for research."
Lynda has set up a Justigivingpage which has already raised £744, way over her £500 target.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: "No one should have to go through what Rhiannon has but, sadly, far too many people do. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
"We’re determined to change this and are so grateful for Lynda’s support in helping us to continue funding vital research. It’s only by working together that we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure. We wish her the best of luck with her skydive."