Derry man to run London marathon in memory of late wife

Alan Robinson, who lost his wife to a brain tumour is running the TCS London Marathon in her memory.

Alan’s wife Nicola, a mum-of-two and a teacher at Fountain Primary School, was diagnosed in 2018 with a diffuse astrocytoma brain tumour after suffering for a couple of weeks with headaches and dizzy spells.

Nicola underwent two seven-hour craniotomies at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but nothing could stop the tumour growing and Nicola passed away, aged 35, in October 2021. She left a huge void in the lives of her family which ‘can never be filled’.

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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 is allocated to this devastating disease.

Nicola Robinson with her husband Alan and their two children. Nicola passed away due to a brain tumour and Alan has been fundraising tirelessly in her honour ever since.

Nicola’s passion for raising awareness and funds for research to find a cure for brain tumours, led Alan to set up a Fundraising Group last year under the umbrella of the charity Brain Tumour Research, which he called Stronger Together for Nicola.

As part of Stronger Together for Nicola’s first year of fundraising, Alan and a team of friends and family ran five half-marathons, starting with the Omagh Half, as well as the full-distance Belfast Marathon. Along with a gala ball in October 2022 attended by around 270 guests, incredibly more than £62,000 has already been raised to help find a cure for the devastating disease as Nicola’s family build a legacy for her.

Alan, dad to eight-year-old Amelia and Alfie, five, said: “Nicola was the perfect mummy to her children and would literally have done anything for anyone. She was also a really devoted teacher and loved the children she taught as if they were her own.

“I remember when the consultant told me that Nicola only had days to live. It was a conversation which will haunt me forever.

Alan Robinson

“Brain tumours are a shocking killer and the stats are so grim. Less than 12% of patients survive beyond five years which compares with an average of 50% across all cancers. We have to do something to change this so that other families aren’t devastated like ours.”

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Alan joins a team of more than 70 people running 26.2 miles for Brain Tumour Research on Sunday 23 April 2023.

Brain Tumour Research is providing its runners with a package of support in the lead up to the event, including help from running coaches and access to a participants’ Facebook Group.

Carol Robertson, national events manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anybody, at any age. We’re very grateful to Alan for taking on this huge challenge to help raise funds for our cause. Our marathon runners are supported every step of the way and we look forward to cheering Alan across the finish line.

Nicola Robinson.
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“If you have your own place through the ballot, we would love you to join our Fighting Force London Marathon team.”

For more details contact Carol Robertson [email protected] or call 07817 878407.

To support Alan’s fundraising, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alan-robinson2023

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at 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. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national 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 and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

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