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‘She didn’t deserve this’ - Woman’s crusade to keep sister’s memory alive

PUBLISHED: 12:05 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 18 February 2020

Susan Long, from Roydon, near Diss, died from a brain tumour in December 2010. Picture: Julia Fairbrother

Susan Long, from Roydon, near Diss, died from a brain tumour in December 2010. Picture: Julia Fairbrother

Julia Fairbrother

The memory of a beloved sister who died a decade ago is continuing to live on, thanks to the gruelling fundraising efforts of her family and friends.

A commemorative tile was placed on the Wall of Hope at Queen Mary University of London in memory of Susan Long, from Roydon, near Diss. Picture: Brain Tumour ResearchA commemorative tile was placed on the Wall of Hope at Queen Mary University of London in memory of Susan Long, from Roydon, near Diss. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

Susan Long, from Roydon, near Diss, died in 2010 after an oligodendroglioma brain tumour spread to her spine.

She had already undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy after experiencing seizures for a number of weeks, which had led to her diagnosis.

Ms Long's sister, Julia Fairbrother, has since made it her mission to fund research dedicated to finding a cure for the disease, including a coast-to-coast rickshaw challenge in Sri Lanka.

And, last week, in recognition for her efforts, Mrs Fairbrother was invited to place a commemorative tile in memory of her sister on the 'Wall of Hope' at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Julia and Christian Fairbrother, from Diss, after completing their Sri Lanka rickshaw challenge in memory of Mrs Fairbrother's sister, Susan Long. Picture: Julia and Christian FairbrotherJulia and Christian Fairbrother, from Diss, after completing their Sri Lanka rickshaw challenge in memory of Mrs Fairbrother's sister, Susan Long. Picture: Julia and Christian Fairbrother

"This devastating illness took Susy far too young," said Mrs Fairbrother. "She didn't deserve this and had so much to live for.

"Through my own devastating experience, I became aware of how tragically underfunded research into brain tumours remains.

"Nothing could be done to save my sister and it seems incomprehensible to me that treatment options remain so limited."

Having grown up in Roydon, Ms Long went to Roydon Primary School as a youngster before attending Diss High School.

Susan Long, from Roydon, near Diss, died from a brain tumour in December 2010 at the age of 30. Picture: Julia FairbrotherSusan Long, from Roydon, near Diss, died from a brain tumour in December 2010 at the age of 30. Picture: Julia Fairbrother

She worked as a technical operator in an electronics factory and, as part of her job, was responsible for training people both in the UK and in Mexico.

In her spare time she was a keen darts player, competing for local pub teams with her sisters and friends.

Last year's rickshaw challenge saw Mrs Fairbrother, her husband Christian, and friends Sam Mason and Rob Waddington, ride an exhausting 777km across Sri Lanka.

They raised £3,238 for the charity Brain Tumour Research, more than the equivalent of one day's research (£2,740).

Rob Waddington, Sam Mason, Christian Fairbrother and Julia Fairbrother, who completed a rickshaw ride in Sri Lanka in memory of Susan Long, from Roydon. Picture: Brain Tumour ResearchRob Waddington, Sam Mason, Christian Fairbrother and Julia Fairbrother, who completed a rickshaw ride in Sri Lanka in memory of Susan Long, from Roydon. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

Reaching that milestone prompted an invite to QMUL, where Mrs Fairbrother met scientists and toured the labs where crucial research is taking place.

"I'm so grateful to everybody who sponsored our fundraising challenge and helped us raise such a fabulous amount to fund vital research," she added.

"Grief devastates families and, through my decision to support Brain Tumour Research, I hope to make a difference to help prevent others going through what we've endured."

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