A scientist who has spent much of her life researching cancer is taking part in the virtual Brainathlon challenge to support vital neuro research, after being diagnosed with a rare cancerous brain tumour and epilepsy herself. 

Nadège Presneau was diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour in February 2019 after months of suffering from mood swings, balance issues, severe headaches and seizures. A lecturer at the University of Westminster and part of the Cancer Research group in the School of Life Sciences, Nadege said: “It is ironic that I have spent much of my career researching cancer and, in particular, soft tissue tumours. To my absolute horror, I, the researcher, had become the patient.” 

She added: “My diagnosis came as a shock, to have cancer after spending all my life studying it is scary and makes it difficult to get away from. If I worked in a retail shop, I could free my mind of it but, being a lecturer and doing cancer research, I just can’t.” Nadège underwent surgery followed by a six-week course of high-energy radiation and is now being monitored with regular scans. 

Determined to do what she can to raise awareness of the need for more funding in research, Nadège has signed up to take part in the Brainathlon, to raise funds for three leading neurological research charities: Brain Research UK, Brain Tumour Research and Epilepsy Research UK. 

She said: “For me, epilepsy is a consequence of having a brain tumour. I’m doing Brainathlon because I’m affected by both epilepsy and a brain tumour and because it’s a challenge for me as I’m not always 100% fit. I’m going to prove to myself that I can do it. Yes, I have a disability and epilepsy now but I can do a Brainathlon. I’m still alive and grateful for that, but recognise that we need more treatments for brain tumours in general.” 

 There is still time to sign up to the Brainathlon! Join us during Brainathlon Week – 25th April to 1st May – and walk 10 miles, run 15 miles and climb 1.2 miles (or 2,500 steps) to support vital neuro research. You can do the challenge solo or take it on with friends or family over the week – the choice is yours!