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Dan to run London Marathon raising cash for Queen Mary University research after losing best pal to brain tumour

PUBLISHED: 14:34 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 11 January 2018

Dan Walker at 2017 Hackney half-marathon with (L-R) Natalie Overs, Morgan Parker, Alice Clapton and Kiri Ward. Picture source: Stefanie O'Callaghan

Dan Walker at 2017 Hackney half-marathon with (L-R) Natalie Overs, Morgan Parker, Alice Clapton and Kiri Ward. Picture source: Stefanie O'Callaghan

Stefanie O'Callaghan

Dan Walker has begun the New Year setting up a fund-raising running campaign after losing his “dream team” soccer pal to a brain tumour.

Best pals Dan Wallker (left) and Darel Bryan before he died. Picture source: Dan WalkerBest pals Dan Wallker (left) and Darel Bryan before he died. Picture source: Dan Walker

He takes part in the 2018 London Marathon on April 22 with his £3,500 target for brain tumour research.

The 32-year-old business manager from Old Ford Road in Bow has run the Hackney half-marathon for the last two years.

But now he’s decided to take on the London challenge in memory of 34-year-old Darel Bryan, a keen East London FC footballer in the Hackney & Leyton Sunday league.

“We were all shocked when we heard the news that Darel had brain tumours.” Dan said. “He was so fit and strong—so why would he get a tumour?

Natalie Overs and partner Darel before his sad passing in February, 2016. Picture source: Dan WalkerNatalie Overs and partner Darel before his sad passing in February, 2016. Picture source: Dan Walker

“There is little known about this disease, so it’s important to do what I can to raise funds for research.”

He is running for the Brain Tumour Research charity’s research centre at Queen Mary University in Whitechapel.

Darel, a housing officer from Bow who died in February, 2016, was always fit and healthy before being diagnosed with several tumours after having a seizure at work.

He had months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which didn’t work in the end.

Dan and Darel were best friends. So are Dan’s girlfriend Kiri Ward, 30, and Darel’s partner Natalie Overs, 34.

“The four of us jokingly called ourselves ‘the Dream Team’,” Dan tells you. “We got together for dinner dates and even went on holidays together.

“Darel and I often spoke about what our weddings and stag nights would be like.”

Natalie has also set up the Darel Bryan Foundation to raise funds for the research charity.

Dan, Kiri and Natalie were regularly at Darel’s hospital bedside during the 15 months he battled with brain cancer and during his last few weeks at St Joseph’s hospice in South Hackney.

Natalie recalled: “Darel endured six weeks of radiotherapy, 12 months of chemotherapy, two surgeries, five months in hospital and every alternative and natural treatment we could lay our hands on.

“But his battle was never one he was going to win.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer, according to Brain Tumour Research. Yet just one per cent of the national budget on cancer research goes on this disease, the charity points out.

The organisation is appealing for runners who have a place for the marathon to nominate Brain Tumour Research as their chosen charity for 2018. There are online details of the charity’s remaining London Marathon places.

Wellwishers can donate directly to Dan’s JustGiving online page.

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