‘Mum suddenly forgot how to drive’ – how brain disease prompted daughter’s charity run

A daughter is preparing to run the London Marathon to help fund vital research into the brain cancer which afflicts her mother.

Claire Miller, a charity fundraiser from Brockenhurst Avenue, Worcester Park, will be taking part in the iconic 26.2-mile race on Sunday, April 21 in aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research.

Claire’s mum, Lesley Brotherston, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) – a highly aggressive brain tumour with a devastatingly short prognosis of just 12-18 months – in June 2020 after becoming confused and disoriented.

The 37-year-old mum-of-three said: “The main thing that prompted mum to get help and advice was when she got into her car and couldn’t remember how to drive, but I think things had been happening for weeks or even months, which had been attributed to forgetfulness or clumsiness.

“It was horrendous. It happened right in the middle of lockdown so she couldn’t have anyone in the hospital with her. I’d just had my second child and she couldn’t even hug her newborn grandson because we were worried about giving her something, with her being so vulnerable.”

Lesley, 69, who worked for the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton for 20 years before retiring, underwent surgery, followed by six weeks of radiotherapy and 12 months of chemotherapy.

The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-three, from nearby Royal Close, Worcester Park, remained stable until a scan last August revealed she had developed a second tumour. She has since had further chemo.

Claire said: Mum’s lovely, generous, giving and kind. She’s thoughtful and doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. She doesn’t deserve what she’s been through, but I do have to keep reminding myself there are people worse off. We’re fortunate she’s responded so well to the treatment so far and that her tumour could be operated on.

“The prognosis for GBM is scary because it’s so short but it’s important to remember there are cases of hope, like mum’s, where patients live longer. I think the approach to her surgery was the cornerstone of that. If they hadn’t been able to remove as much of her tumour as they did, it might have been a very different story.

“There needs to be greater investment in research to enable brain tumour patients more options than the standard care pathway for this disease, which is unique in its ability to affect a person both mentally and physically.”

She added: “I’m looking forward to the [Marathon] day itself and know I’ll be really motivated by the crowds. A lot of my friends and family have said they’ll come and watch too, so I’m excited about sharing the experience with them.”

To support Claire’s fundraising, please visit

Pictured top: Claire and her mum (Picture: Claire Miller)

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