Stud owner takes on biggest challenge yet in wheelchair in memory of friend Rory Gilsenan

  • A stud owner is taking on her biggest challenge yet as she attempts to raise £100,000 for charity in memory of showing producer Rory Gilsenan.

    Sharon Mynard plans to complete a “virtual push” around the coast of Great Britain in her wheelchair to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research. She plans to complete the 2,795-mile journey on 26 July 2023, which marks 40 years since the day she broke her neck in a riding accident and became confined to a wheelchair.

    Sharon, who previously completed a 26.2-mile marathon in her wheelchair, is taking on her latest challenge once again in memory of her friend Rory Gilsenan, who died on 22 April aged 50 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2018, and for others such as her partner Tim Belfield. Tim has had two low-grade brain tumours removed; in 2006 and November 2018.

    “I see too much of it,” said Sharon. “I have a friend whose little girl has just lost her dad to a brain tumour and it seems like everybody I speak to has been affected by the disease. It’s so under-funded compared to other cancers, too, which I didn’t realise and I don’t think other people do either.

    “Perhaps the scariest thing though, is the number of children and young people it affects – that’s the most heart-breaking thing for me.”

    Sharon will need to push more than two hours each day to achieve her goal.

    “I’ll probably do 99% of it here at home. It will be boring as hell, especially this time of year when I can only push inside the stable block and where there’s lots of turning, which will make it much harder – I can probably only go 100 yards before having to slow down and turn back again,” she said.

    “I’m not as fit as I could be but I’ll build myself up slowly. I’ve got enough horses fit over the years to know that for longevity you’ve got to take it slowly and go from there. I think what worries me most is the sheer commitment. I know we’re going to have bad weather and, although I’m not a sick person, I’m going to get a bad cold and wake up thinking: ‘I really don’t want to do this’, but I’m stubborn and will want to get to that finish line.”

    Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said the charity is incredibly grateful for Sharon’s support in helping fund vital research into brain tumours.

    “It’s hard to comprehend just how much commitment this challenge will require from her but we’re sure her determination and belief in the cause will see that she triumphs,” he said.

    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 calling for a national annual spend of £35m 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.

    To donate visit Sharon’s JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sharon-mynard2.

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