Brain tumour survivor from village near Buckingham and Milton Keynes prepares to run marathon for charity

‘When it’s cold, wet and windy and I don’t want to go out running, I remember what I’m doing it for and that makes it easier’
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A young woman from Thornborough, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a teenager, is preparing to run a marathon for charity.

Flora Bouchier, aged 23, is in training to run the Manchester Marathon on April 16 in aid of the charity Brain Tumour Research.

Flora was diagnosed with a Grade 1 glioneuronal tumour in April 2016, at the age of 16, after experiencing nausea, hot flushes and partial seizures.

Flora Bouchier, left, and her friend Beth MooreFlora Bouchier, left, and her friend Beth Moore
Flora Bouchier, left, and her friend Beth Moore

Despite having her tumour surgically removed, Flora suffered from post-operative depression, which had a severe impact on her life.

The University of Nottingham graduate said: “After my diagnosis and surgery, I became very lethargic and didn’t do any exercise for a year. It was only when I went to university and started playing rugby that I got back into sport. Now I cycle, run, play tag rugby and five-a-side football, so I really enjoy being able to be active.”

She added: “I was one of the lucky ones because my tumour was successfully removed and it was low grade, but I hadn’t realised the long-term impact it would have on me. It really affected my latter school years and my first couple of years at university.

“I was ringing up Samaritans every couple of days because I couldn’t stop crying and was distraught all the time.

Flora in hospital during her treatmentFlora in hospital during her treatment
Flora in hospital during her treatment

“Luckily, I managed to get over that and got a First in my degree, but for a few years I struggled with tiredness and my emotions in the aftermath of dealing with everything.”

Flora moved to Manchester after obtaining a Master’s degree in 2022, and has been training with her friend, Beth Moore, who will be joining her in the 26.2-mile race.

Now working as a chemical engineer, Flora said: “I want to do it to prove that I can, but it’s going to be a massive challenge because I don’t have the best breathing, which makes running hard. I’ve been training for about two months now and the furthest I’ve run is a half marathon, so I’m halfway there.

“Manchester is the UK’s flattest marathon so it should be a good first marathon. People go there to get personal bests but I’ll be going to get around. I just need to pace myself and remember to breathe.”

Flora shows her surgery scarFlora shows her surgery scar
Flora shows her surgery scar

She added: “I’m lucky to be living a completely normal life now, not held back by my previous health issues, but I know I’m one of just a small number of people for whom that’s the case. If by raising awareness and funds I can avoid someone going through a similar situation to me or the many other brain tumour patients I read about, then that’s the goal.

“When it’s cold, wet and windy and I don’t want to go out running, I remember what I’m doing it for and that makes it easier.”

Founded by Padbury woman Sue Farrington Smith, Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for more investment in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and ultimately to find a cure.

To support Flora’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/flora-bouchier