‘I wanted to prove to myself that I’m very much alive’: Oli defying the odds with marathon effort

Oli Hilsdon with mum Jayne

Oli Hilsdon with mum Jayne

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A Buckingham man diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour just 15 months ago is running the London Marathon – and he’s raised a staggering £46,000 in sponsorship.

Oli Hilsdon, 24, was given just months to live after he collapsed going out for a curry. A tumour was later found on his brain.

Oli (centre) with friends Ross Elsby and Jon Whitby, having completed the Hampton Court Palace half-marathon

Oli (centre) with friends Ross Elsby and Jon Whitby, having completed the Hampton Court Palace half-marathon

But after radiotherapy, chemotherapy and pioneering immunotherapy, Oli has made remarkable progress.

He finished his treatment last month and scans reveal only scar tissue remains. He now wants to ‘celebrate life’ by raising cash for Brain Tumour Research.

“I feel very fortunate,” said Oli, who went to the Royal Latin and played for Buckingham Rugby Club.

“When you are told you might not be around for much longer, it changes things.

“I wanted to run [the marathon] to prove to myself that I’m very much alive and I can do it.”

On Sunday, Oli will take on the famous 26-mile challenge with friend Ross, whom he met at Cambridge University.

And cheering them through the capital will be mum Jayne, 54, and dad Tim, 60, who live on Badgers, along with Oli’s sister Emily, 21.

“He is just an incredible lad,” said Jayne. “He hasn’t complained or moaned, or said: ‘Why me?’

“He was literally starting off in the world, with so much potential, and then the news.

“He wants to celebrate the fact he’s still here and the money he’s raised is incredible.”

Jayne helped Oli smash through his £45,000 target with a disco at Akeley Village Hall on Saturday.

She said: “The kindness and generosity of the good people of Buckingham is incredible.

“Thank you to all concerned – amazing. The incredible amount of £2,003.72 was raised for Oli to add to his fund.

“A further £63 was raised by The White Hart by selling raffle tickets. Thank you all.”

Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful to Oli and wish him all the best for the marathon.

“He is well-known within the community and his amazing fundraising total to date is a real testament to what his friends and family think of him.”

To help Oli reach £50,000, visit the website www.justgiving.com/Oli-Hilsdon.