A 700-mile tractor run to raise awareness and funds for research into childhood brain tumours has set off from a Crawley farm this week.
Smallfield residents Tim and Kirsty Lee’s daughter Keira, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2013. The two-year-old died a week later following surgery to partially remove it.
On Monday (August 10), as part of the family’s ‘LoveUKeira’ campaign to raise the profile of child brain tumours, three vintage tractors, restored by Horley farmer Shane Portman started their trip to Devon.
Tim said: “I’ve tried many times to put into words how this has affected me, my wife, Keira’s siblings and generations of our family – but I simply can’t explain the absolute horror we have, and continue to go through.
“And that is precisely why we have created LoveUKeira, to try to spare other children and families from the pain and heartbreak that we know first-hand.”
They are working with the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at The University of Nottingham, The Brain Tumour Charity and HeadSmart to educate medics and raise money to fund research.
Braving all weathers, without cabins for protection, Shane, his wife Donna and their friend Patrick Holden left Toovies’s Farm in Balcombe Road on a 1961 Fordson Super Major and two 1958 Fordson Dextas. They also had three beautiful 1920s showman’s wagons in tow.
Donna is driving the one painted pink in Keira’s honour. They will spend three weeks on the road and will stop at three summer shows, including the Rudgwick Country Show on August 29-31.
Tim added: “It is a little known fact that brain tumours are the most common cause of cancer death in our children. Ten children or young people are diagnosed. Every week in the UK alone 25 per cent will die - that’s one every three days. And of the survivors, around 60 per cent, will suffer significant ongoing disabilities. Awareness really is the key here.”
For more information go to www.loveukeira.co.uk and the team can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/loveukeiraroadtrip or by texting KEIR70 and an amount between £1 and £10 to 70070.