Charity swim for Gorleston police constable battling brain cancer

AS a superfit life-guard scanning the summer surf for trouble Anna Marshall from Gorleston could not have foreseen the difficulty that lay ahead.

But the 29-year-old remains firmly focused on the future as she battles a bombshell brain tumour that would have put anyone else’s life on hold.

Now a police constable she married husband Darren a few months after the shock diagnosis which triggered a gruelling round of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

And her “quiet determination” has inspired 12 members of the Norfolk Constabulary Swimming and Lifesaving team - of which Anna was a member - to take part in a 12 hour swimathon at the University of East Anglia’s sports park to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research.

After a brutal 10 months, a scan in January revealed that she looked to be beating the disease and the tumour had shrunk by half.

Anna said: “I am feeling better every day and hoping that a further three lots of chemo will shrink the tumour altogether. I am determined to get better and go back to work. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues at Norfolk Constabulary, for all of their support over the past year.

“I was fit and active prior to my illness and was a life-guard on Gorleston beach until I joined the Norfolk Constabulary in 2006.

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“I married Darren in September 2011. He and the rest of my family have been hugely supportive throughout my treatment.

“Work have been fantastic, I feel very humbled by the support I have received from my friends and colleagues.

“The idea for the swimathon came about because I was a member of the Norfolk Constabulary Swimming & Lifesaving team and Michelle and Karl Warren and the rest of the team wanted to do something to raise awareness of brain tumours, as well as fundraise for brain tumour research.”

Along with Anna’s husband, Darren, and her parents, Helen and David Bent, who joined in the swimming fundraiser, the Norfolk Constabulary Swimming and Lifesaving team (NCSL) clocked up 23.2 miles – further than the distance from Dover to Calais.

Their marathon swim, which was organised in relays with two or three swimmers at a time, has to date raised around �1,500 in sponsorship.

Anna’s friend and police colleague, Michelle Warren from Norwich, who organised the fundraising event, said: “Faced with the shocking statistics for brain tumour patients, Anna’s quiet determination to fight this dreadful disease is an inspiration to us all.

“More children and adults under the age of 40 die from a brain tumour than from any other cancer, yet less than 1pc of national cancer research spending goes on brain tumours. We all wanted to do our bit to help Brain Tumour Research in its valuable work to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for this dreadful disease.”

If you would like to help raise further funds for Brain Tumour Research you can do so at www.justgiving.com/teams/NCSL

You can also join in Brain Tumour Research’s annual Wear a Hat day on March 30 and help spread awareness of the disease. For more information on the work of Brain Tumour Research visit www.braintumourresearch.org