ON THE fifth anniversary of his brother's death from a brain tumour, a Newport man is going the distance to support research to find a cure for the illness.

Anthony Hard was just 36 when he died. The RAF corporal had been serving as an aircraft engineer in Afghanistan when he was taken ill and diagnosed with an oligoastrocytoma brain tumour.

The devastating news came eight days after the birth of his son.

Despite extensive surgery and treatment, the cancer returned more aggressively and he died on November 27, 2015, leaving behind wife Nahella, daughter Reagan, and son Casey.

Michael Hard, his brother, said: “Ant was a wonderful big brother. In spite of everything, he was really positive.

"He always had a smile on his face and was the life and soul of the party – he loved singing and karaoke and would be the last one on the dance floor at the end of the night. He is so sorely missed.”

South Wales Argus:

(Anthony Hard with his wife and children)

Since his brother's death, Mr Hard has fundraised regularly for the charity Brain Tumour Research, which is striving to find a cure for the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40.

He has previously completed the Newport Marathon and usually holds a charity golf day every April – but the pandemic spoiled those plans this year.

“I also knew I wanted to do something different this year, to mark five years since Ant passed away from this terrible disease," Mr Hard said. "He was a fitness fanatic and gym freak, so doing a physical challenge seems fitting. When I’m out jogging, that’s when I do my thinking and thoughts often turn to Ant.”

The dad-of-three, who like his brother is an aircraft engineer and RAF corporal, decided to run five kilometres (km) every day from November 1 to November 27 – the fifth anniversary of his brother's death.

“I completed the first 5km with my daughter Olivia – she’s planning to join me for a run every weekend," he said. "I've been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from relatives, friends and colleagues, who’ve donated generously and even taken on their own 5km runs, in solidarity.

“My wife and I recently discovered our close family friend Rachel, a mum-of-two, has been diagnosed with an astrocytoma brain tumour. Her shock diagnosis is another reminder of just how underfunded this area of cancer research is and how more awareness is needed to help find a cure.”

To donate to Mr Hard's fundraising challenge, visit the website: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Michael_Hard

Joe Woollcott, of the Brain Tumour Research charity, said: “Anthony’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate – they can affect anyone at any age.

"What’s more, fewer than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers. We cannot allow this desperate situation to continue."

He added: “We are so grateful to Michael for coming up with this innovative fundraising idea and we wish him all the best for the rest of the challenge. Like so many of our fantastic fundraisers, Michael isn’t letting lockdown get in the way of his efforts and we’re sure he will inspire lots of people to get involved and donate.”