A BASINGSTOKE man has set himself the epic challenge of cycling 274 miles in August for a charity very close to his heart.

Mark Watson, from Hatch Warren was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour known as an acoustic neuroma (or vestibular schwannoma) last year, and treated with radiotherapy.

It is a tumour which grows on the nerve used for hearing and balance, which can cause problems such as hearing loss and unsteadiness. Over time they can become more serious as they grow in size

Mark, who works as a sales coach, said: “My hearing began to deteriorate over time, which led me to getting a hearing test from an audiologist. They suspected a tumour as my hearing was significantly worse in my right ear.

“This led to various MRI and CT scans showing a large tumour pressing against my brain stem. I underwent treatment with a course of radiotherapy at the NHS University Hospital in Southampton. The treatment is working right now to disrupt the tumour and stop it from growing further. It takes some time to determine how successful the treatment has been, possibly up to two years.”

In the meantime, the 50-year-old is determined not to let his condition hold him back, and has set himself the epic cycle challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research, to help them get closer to finding a cure.

To date he’s raised more than £800 of his £1000 goal.

“Throughout my life I’ve been a cyclist and also as a member of the Hatch Warren and Beggarwood Cycling Club (HWB CC),” he said.

“The tumour affects me day-to-day with ongoing headaches and balance issues, so the 274 miles in August will be a real challenge for me to complete.

“Whether you share my story, give encouragement with the ride, or through donations, your contribution will make an impact, every penny makes a real difference.”

To support Mark’s cause, visit: https://www.facebook.com/donate/932907763953685/