Ilkley student runs London marathon in support of friend with Brain Tumour

An Ilkley student has conquered the London marathon to raise money after his best friend was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 4:45 am

Ethan Thompson, 22, conquered the world’s most famous marathon and raised thousands of pounds in the process for Brain Tumour Research, in a remarkable display of friendship.

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Now studying for a Master's degree in mathematics Ethan, took on the 26.2 mile race in support of his friend Ned Hilton, finishing it in an impressive time of 3:51:53.

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Ethan ran the marathon in support of his friend Ned Hilton.

Ned, 22, a student of modern languages (Russian and Spanish) at the University of Birmingham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2018, at the age of just 19.

After experiencing hearing problems in one ear Ned was referred to the neurosurgery team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where after a number of tests he was eventually diagnosed with a medulloblastoma the most common high-grade paediatric brain tumour.

“I met Ned when we were in year 5 at Ashlands Primary School. We then went to the same secondary school and although we weren’t in the same class, we had lots of lessons together and shared similar interests, such as cycling and running. We became close friends. I remember a trip to the Lake District with friends after our GCSEs when the two of us got up early one morning to run up Skiddaw together. We’ve always had a lot in common.” Ethan explained.

Following two surgeries in eight days Ned went on to complete a six-week intensive radiotherapy course, followed by gruelling chemotherapy, which lasted 36 weeks.

Rev Phil Summers (l) who also ran the raise in support of Brain Tumour research with Ned Hilton and Ethan Thompson (r).

Ethan said:“I visited Ned in hospital and was always struck by how upbeat and positive he was. He never appeared to be sad or stressed about the situation. It was remarkable.”

The invasive surgeries left Ned deaf in one ear and he suffered damage to the nerves in some of his facial muscles. In September 2020, he underwent further surgery, which had previously been postponed after he contracted Covid-19. The operation succeeded in repairing his nerve endings and he is gradually regaining control of his face.

“It’s wonderful to see Ned go from strength to strength after all he’s been through. After missing nearly two years of his studies, Ned has incredibly managed to catch up and is now in his third year and has just begun an overseas placement in Moscow. He is a talented linguist and making it to Russia was always his goal. I’m so pleased he’s achieved it.” Ethan explained.

Having first signed up to take part in the April 2020 London Marathon, which was later cancelled as a result of the pandemic and the fact the 2021 version was postponed from April to October means Ethan has effectively trained for the marathon three times.

Thanking him for his commitment to the cause, Carol Robertson, national events manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Our sincere thanks go to Ethan for taking on – and accomplishing – such an epic challenge to help fund vital research into brain tumours. Ned’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age. We were delighted to see Ethan finish the marathon and congratulate him and Phil on their spectacular achievements.”

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 has been allocated to this devastating disease.

To contribute to Ethan's cause click here.

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