Woodford Green dad who died of brain tumour celebrated by family on 40th birthday
PUBLISHED: 11:11 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:11 08 August 2017
Brain Tumour Research
A Woodford Green widow celebrated what would have been her husband’s 40th birthday by holding a charity walk in his memory this weekend.
David Hetherington, 39, died from an aggressive brain tumour on November 24, 2016, leaving behind his wife Shaz, daughter Layla, five, and son Daniel, three.
On Sunday, the family led a celebration of his life with a sponsored walk to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
They gathered near the HSBC tower at Canary Wharf, where the couple both worked, and released 40 balloons to mark the birthday.
Around 100 people took part in the Walk4David40 event in London while others, including many former colleagues at the bank, held their own events abroad.
David’s birthday was celebrated in Florida, Brisbane, Kuala Lumpur, Asturias in Spain, Pennsylvania and Bulgaria.
More than 20 people took part in Carlisle, where David grew up, including his parents John and Judith and friends Elizabeth and Stephen Sewell, and their children Francesca, four, Oliver, eight, and Ben, 11.
The couple were at Austin Friars School with David who, subsequently, became their best man and is Ben’s godfather.
Many others did the walk in other UK locations including Littlehampton, Harpenden, and the Cairngorms.
Shaz, 40, from Woodford Green, said: “The day was completely overwhelming. It was a very bitter sweet experience and totally heart-wrenching that so many people thought so much of David that they came along with their families. It is wonderful that he made such an impression on so many people.
“David was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour when I was 31 weeks pregnant with our first child. When our second baby was just eight weeks old, his tumour had changed to a cancerous and aggressive glioblastoma.
“David fought so bravely and never once complained about what he was going through.
“It broke my heart to have to explain to the children what they should do if he had a seizure.
“When it became clear that David wouldn’t be around to see the children grow up, he started to write emails to them offering advice which I hope they take comfort from reading when they are older.”
The event was to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research which funds scientists who are focused on finding a cure and improving outcomes for patients. The charity is campaigning to see the national spend on brain tumour research increased to between £30 and £35million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia.
Shaz added: “It was so important to us to mark what would have been David’s 40th birthday and to celebrate his life. We called it “the world’s local walk” as people took part in so many locations.
“It is shocking to learn that brain tumours kill more children and adults who, like him, are under the age of 40, than any other cancer yet just one percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”