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Woolwich family drives for change after brain cancer death
Ben Dove, from Woolwich, was an athletic 19 year old before brain cancer left him walking “like a little old man” and unable to hold a pen.
Now nearly four years on from his death, his family is taking action to stop the disease from taking more lives.
His cousin, Lindsay Clarke, 35, has embarked on a fundraising drive to bring much-needed investment to brain cancer research.
She said: “Brain tumour research is really underfunded so I vowed I would do something about it.”
The ambulance care assistant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, is hoping to raise £5000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity in the next eight months.
She has organised a club night in Greenwich in honour of Ben and is trekking the Jordanian desert in April next year.
Ben’s family first realised he was not well when he started walking slowly, could not hold a pen or brush his teeth.
The former Kidbrooke School, in Greenwich, pupil and taekwondo black belt was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where a scan revealed he had a brain tumour.
It was operated on in Easter 2006 at King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill.
“Afterwards Ben seemed like a little old man really – very unsteady on his feet and he had to learn to write again,” said his mother, Claire Dove, 39 of Eleanor Walk, Woolwich.
“He had radiotherapy for six weeks every day.”
Ben decided he still wanted to go to university and joined Greenwich Community College on a university access course.
“I was so proud of him when he signed up to continue his studies,” Mrs Dove said.
But he only attended one day before going back to hospital. An MRI scan in October 2008 revealed the tumour had come back.
After another operation Ben started hallucinating.
“He was up all night talking to himself and seeing things that weren’t there,” Mrs Dove said.
He was given two weeks to live, but died three days later on November 8 2008.
Mrs Dove said: “It was devastating to lose my son at what should have been the prime of his life”.
Brain tumours kill more people under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
Only 12% of males survive beyond five years after being diagnosed. Only 15% of females live beyond five years.
This is compared with a 50% rate for cancer as a whole.
16,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with brain cancer each year.
Miss Clarke, said: “We need to find much more funding for research into these tumours which devastate so many families each year.
Bar 57 in Greenwich High Road will host the ‘Old Skool Garage’ night on Friday 28 September in Ben’s memory. Tickets are £8 before 11pm and £10 afterwards.
Donate at www.justgiving.com/lindsay-clarke.
See 100% PURE OLD SKOOL GARAGE !!! group on Facebook for more details.