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Dagenham women to do challenge in memory of husband lost to brain cancer

Raynor Clarke with Jason and Kristie Tribe

A woman from Dagenham is taking part in a month-long fitness challenge in memory of her husband who died of an aggressive brain tumour.

Kristie Tribe, 39, and her best friend, Raynor Clarke, 44, have signed up to the Brain Tumour Research charity’s 100 a Day Your Way challenge, which requires participants to complete either 100 squats, 100 star jumps, 100 sit ups, 100 seconds of a plank, or a combination of all four exercises, each day in November. The best friends are participating in the challenge in memory of Kristie’s husband, Jason, who died aged 52 in June 2022.

Kristie said: “My husband was an amazing, amazing man. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything I achieved. He was so strong, confident and funny and an exceptional husband, father, son, brother, friend to so many people and I feel like this is me thanking him for everything he did for me and all the amazing people that have supported me – family, friends, the school that I’m now working at.”

The pair are planning to complete their challenge using a mixture of star jumps and squats and will be joined, at least in part, by Kristie’s 10-year-old son, Nicholas.

Speaking about her best friend, Raynor, Kristie said: “She’s always been with me by my side throughout this horrible time. She’s always said I’ll be with you every single step of the way and she truly, truly has been. It was actually her who motivated me. She said ‘Come on we keep saying we’re going to do a challenge for Brain Tumour Research, this one’s come up, let’s just do it.’ It all went from there really.”

Donations for the challenge are being collected via a Just Giving page online.

Kristie, who is now a special education needs one-to-one aide, having taken her late husband’s advice to change careers, said: “It’s going to be hard but I’m going to give it my best shot because I really want to do it in my husband’s memory.

“I do try to exercise most days but I’m a bit worried about how hardcore this is going to be. Still, challenging myself is the least I can do to try and raise awareness of this devastating disease.”

Kristie’s late husband, Jason, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) in December 2020.

Jason, who was a self-employed painter and decorator made repeated visits to the GP, after experiencing tingling and numbness down his right-hand side for months. He was even prescribed antibiotics, but it was only after Kristie took him to A&E and said she was concerned he was having a stroke, that his brain tumour was discovered.

Jason Tribe with his two sons, Owen and Nicholas

“It was at the height of COVID-19 so I wasn’t allowed in with him, and I’ve had so much guilt over knowing he had to hear that news by himself,” said Kristie.

Jason’s tumour was found to be inoperable during a biopsy procedure, but he was given six weeks of combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy followed by further chemo.

Kristie said: “The idea was to debulk as much as they could during his biopsy, but they found out his tumour was attached to the bottom of his brain stem. We were told then that it was in the worst possible place, the centre of his brain, and was grade 4.”

She added: “By Christmas 2021, I noticed Jason was getting really forgetful and struggling to walk. His chemo was changed but he continued to deteriorate. He got quite paranoid and didn’t fully understand what was going on. He had another scan in March 2022 and, when we were given the results in April, they told us there was nothing else they could do.”

Jason died at home, with his family at his side, in June 2022.

Kristie, who was forced to sell her home after he died, said: “Jason was kind-hearted, hard-working and loving. He was confident, funny and lit up any room he walked in. Him being so full of life is what made it that much harder to watch him deteriorate like he did and lose everything he had, including his dignity.

“I feel cheated that I met him, fell in love, we were happy together and he was taken away from me after just 15 years. I don’t know how that’s fair, but I do try to find the positives where I can and I know some people will be married for 60 years who don’t experience the happiness we did.

“It’s hard though. There are days I could do nothing and just curl up under the blanket but I’d be letting Jason down if I didn’t get up each day and carry on.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to the disease since records began in 2002.

Kristie said: “Jason always said he couldn’t understand why there had been so many advances for other cancers and yet nothing for brain tumours, which are still being treated like they were in the 70s, when without your brain you’re nothing.”

Community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, Charlie Allsebrook said: “Jason’s sad story is a stark reminder of the indiscriminate nature of brain tumours, which can affect anyone at any time. They kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer, more women under 35 than breast cancer and more children than leukaemia.

“We’re determined to change that and are so grateful for Kristie and Raynor’s support. We wish them well with their challenge and would encourage anyone else who’s interested to sign up here.”


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