Father puts his best foot forward for charity run despite suffering hydrocephalus
11:08 28 August 2014
A father, who was who was born with a brain tumour, has fought his illness and taken to the treadmill to train for what will be his a 16th charity run.
Gregg Brassett 32, from Lakes End, who suffers from hydrocephalus after being born with a brain tumour, will join hundreds of runners from across the country when he takes part in the MBNA Chester Marathon.
Mr Brassett spent his childhood in and out of hospital and unable to take part in sport due to hydrocepahlus, a build up of excess fluid in the brain.
Despite his illness he has taken part in more than 15 running events and in October will be adding the Chester event to his medal collection.
Mr Brassett has had two brain tumours. The first when he was 17 months old and the second when he was 11.
He said: “After my first tumour I had to keep going to hospital to get ‘shunts’ put into my brain that removed any excess fluid. They would often get blocked and cause me to have terrible headaches.
“When I was 11 I started feeling an odd pain in my neck which wasn’t normal. After a series of tests I was told that the brain tumour that they had removed when I was a baby had come back.
“A tiny amount of my first tumour had been left behind and had slowly grown over the years. It was a shock when it dawned on me that for my whole life I had a tumour growing inside me.”
He had the tumour removed in 1993 and although he has not had any more serious tumours since, he suffers severe headaches which render him unable to move and make him feel very sick.
From a young age, he was interested in fitness and was a keen swimmer.
From 16 he went to the gym but did not consider himself a runner until September 2012 when the charity that supports him - Headway Cambridgeshire, a charity that supports people affected by brain injury - asked him to take part in a half marathon on their behalf.
He said: “The only time I used to run was on the treadmill as part of my gym training. I’m always up for a challenge so when Headway contacted me to take part in the race I immediately signed up despite only having four weeks to prepare for it.
“I managed to complete the race in quite a good time and although it was the hardest run of my life it awakened my competitive nature and that’s when I knew I had caught the running bug.”
Over the past two years, he has taken part in seven half marathons, two marathons, four 10ks, two five milers and a ten miler despite having to have breaks in his training when he falls ill.
He said: “I constantly have to alter my training due to being ill and I never know when it will hit me so by race day I’ve never had the sufficient training that other runners have.
“I don’t let that stop me though, my fitness gets me most of the way and it’s grit and determination that gets me to the finish line. Despite my condition I remain 110% determined and dedicated to be a role model for my four year old son, Charlie. Everything I do is for him and all I want is for him to be proud of me.