Merseyside mum who learned to walk again after brain surgery completes London Marathon

The mother-of-one underwent surgery on a brain tumour in 2015 and thought she was saying goodbye to her husband and daughter.

Marie Garnett completes the Virtual London Marathon.

An inspirational Merseyside mum who learned to walk again after being diagnosed with a brain tumour weeks after the birth of her daughter has completed the virtual London Marathon.

Marie Garnett, 45, who said her goodbyes to daughter Amelia and husband Darren the night before her first brain surgery in 2015 has celebrated another year with her family by doing a 26.2 mile fundraising run.

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The tenacious former civil servant completed the course in seven hours and 15 minutes and has so far raised over £1,500 for Liverpool-based organisation The Brain Charity.

Marie diagnosed with brain tumour

In 2015, Marie was diagnosed with a benign meningioma brain tumour less than six weeks after giving birth.

She had suffered from severe headaches for seven years, which had become unmanageable after Amelia’s birth, and also developed dizziness and loss of balance in the days leading up to her diagnosis.

Marie nursing Amelia in her hospital bed at The Walton Centre.

Mum-of-one Marie was rushed to The Walton Centre in Liverpool where she spent more than a month as she underwent three brain surgeries, the longest of which lasted eight hours, before battling meningitis – all while trying to be a new mum from her hospital bed.

The trained counsellor also discovered she had a Chiari malformation, where the brain pushes down into the spinal cord, and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain, as a result of the golf ball-sized tumour.

Her marathon journey

After her life-saving operations, Marie needed several days of physiotherapy to be able to stand on her own, and it was weeks before she could properly walk again.

But remarkably, on Sunday, the tenacious fundraiser completed the virtual London Marathon from her home in Haydock, St Helens.

Marie completed her marathon in just over seven hours.

Marie had 24 hours to complete the 26.2 miles on a course of her choice – running from St Helens to Salford and back as her route.

Marie tells her story

“The night before my first brain surgery, I said goodbye to Amelia and my husband Darren,” she recalls. “When Darren went to the toilet, I whispered to Amelia ‘look after your daddy’.

“After the operation I struggled to walk, but I did it.

“At first, it took two physios to get me from my bed to the nurses’ station and when I first left hospital, I could only do 300 steps per day – even just going to the shops was exhausting.

“But I kept pushing my boundaries. I appreciate my legs and the ability to use them every single day, because some people with neurological conditions are not as lucky.

Marie, Amelia and Darren.

“So what better way to celebrate life, beautiful and miraculous brains and legs by completing the Virtual London Marathon.

“I have chosen to support The Brain Charity as they provided me with invaluable counselling for free, which helped me put the pieces of my brain back together.”

The Brain Charity

The Brain Charity supports people with all forms of neurological condition, from anywhere in the UK.

Marie was also keen to support their cause as her daughter Amelia, now six, was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities before her first birthday; she has global development delay, epilepsy and is non-verbal.

The Brain Charity’s counselling sessions were a lifeline in helping Marie come to terms with not just her own experience but Amelia’s diagnosis too, she says.

Marie was offered the counselling, which is free to anyone with a neurological condition, after speaking to The Brain Charity’s staff who are based at The Walton Centre.

Tui Benjamin, Head of Fundraising at The Brain Charity, said: “Marie is an absolute superstar and we are thrilled she chose to support The Brain Charity with her virtual London Marathon.

“Not only has she raised much-needed funds for our front-line services, she is a true inspiration to our clients and to all brain tumour survivors.

“Having learned how to walk again and gone on to complete the famous 26.2 miles of a marathon, she has shown people living with all forms of neurological condition that anything is possible.”

To support Marie, go to her Money Giving page

To find out more about The Brain Charity, go the their website.