Essex teen will ride 1,000km for sister whose brain tumour left her disabled

Flint will cycle 1000km for his sister Mimi Credit: Tom's Trust

A teenager whose younger sister was left disabled after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, is hoping to become the youngest person to compete in a 1,000km race across France.

Flint Clarke, 14, will complete the gruelling Unknown Race in five days next month, averaging around 200km per day.

Flint's younger sister Mimi was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013 when she was three, and has undergone surgery and chemotherapy to fight her cancer.

After her treatment she was stable, before relapsing in 2017.

Mimi and Flint in hospital Credit: Tom's Trust

She was flown to Florida for proton beam radiation therapy - which was successful in fighting her cancer for a few more years.

She is now stable once more, having undergone more surgery for a new tumour nodule which developed in the radiated area.

This was removed in 2021, but Mimi still requires help and support every day.

After the surgery, Mimi now walks with a limp, sometimes uses a wheelchair and has no control over her left arm - which she calls her "lazy arm".

After her surgery, Mimi walks with a limp and has little use of her left arm Credit: Tom's Trust

Flint said: "She does go through lots of tough times. And every day it's a bit of a struggle for her.

"[Riding is] kind of an escape because all you think about is riding, I'm not really thinking about my sister or all the stress she might have to go through - you're thinking about just getting over the next hill."

Flint is fundraising for Tom’s Trust, a children’s brain tumour charity which supports families with mental health care.

He has already raised nearly £7,000 which the charity says will help five children and their families get the support they need after receiving a brain tumour diagnosis this year.

Mimi said: "I think it's really hard having a brain tumour. It's nice to have support.

"I think it is amazing that my brother is going to do this ride to raise money for Tom's trust. I think he's the best brother ever and he is really supportive."

Flint and Mimi before her diagnosis Credit: Tom's Trust

The event is physically and mentally challenging, and competitors will only be given their destination one hour before the start.

Flint said: “I am very nervous as this is going to be one of the hardest challenges I will face both physically and mentally. The completion rate for ultra events is often as low as 50% - they are very unpredictable."Yvette Clarke, Mimi and Flint’s mum, said that despite the the daily challenges Mimi faces, she remains a happy girl.

She added: “She does feel excluded by her peers as they are able-bodied and emotionally more mature. Mimi is still very young for her age. She is so positive."

Tom's Trust provided the family with a psychologist who helped Mimi with needle phobia and coping with MRIs.

Debs Mitchell, who co-founded Tom’s Trust after her nine-year-old son Tom died from a brain tumour in 2010, said: “We are in awe of Flint and everything he’s doing to raise money for Tom’s Trust at the age of just 14."

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