RAF dad from Newport running 5km every day in his garden after losing brother to brain tumour

Michael Hard with his daughter Olivia, and Anthony Hard, right.

An RAF aircraft engineer who lost his brother to a brain tumour is running five kilometres in his garden for 27 consecutive days to raise money for charity.

Michael Hard, from Newport, has been taking on the daily run since November 1 to help support Brain Tumour Research after his brother Anthony died from a brain tumour in 2015.

Corporal Hard will complete the run everyday until November 27, the date that marks five years since his brother's passing.

Anthony Hard was just 36 when he died from an oligoastrocytoma brain tumour, leaving behind his wife Nahella, daughter Reagan and son Casey.

He also served as an aircraft engineer in the RAF and was in Afghanistan in 2011 when he received the news he had a grade two, golf ball-sized tumour in his brain.

Anthony with his wife Nahella and children Reagan and Casey.

The diagnosis came just eight days after the birth of his son Casey, who suffers from severe epilepsy, cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. 

When speaking about his sibling, Michael said that he was "brave and wonderful" despite being faced with the prospect of gruelling surgery and months of rehabilitation.

Ant was a wonderful big brother. In spite of everything, he was really positive.

Michael Hard

He said: “Ant bravely went through gruelling surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible and he stayed well for a few years.

"When the aggressive cancer returned, doctors bought him more time with further surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but we knew his prognosis was stark and by July 2015 his speech was really badly affected, his seizures were increasingly frequent and he was given just three months to live.  

“Ant 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.”

Michael has had to tailor his 5km running plans after a close contact of his contracted coronavirus on November 6.

It has meant he is unable to run outside and can only run in his garden in isolation.

"I’ve been thrown a curveball, as I now have to self-isolate for two weeks. I’ve decided to continue the challenge but I’ll be doing it in my garden," Michael explained.

"I’ll be running from my front gate, down the side of my house and around the back. It’s not ideal but it’s outside and it keeps me moving."

It is not the first time that he dad-of-three has fundraised for Brain Tumour Research.

Michael completed the Newport Marathon in 2018 and holds a charity golf day every April but the pandemic stopped that this year.

Michael Hard with his family at the Newport Marathon in 2018.

Michael said: “I also knew I wanted to do something different this year, to mark five years since Ant passed away from this terrible disease.

"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.

"I completed the first 5k with my daughter Olivia – she’s planning to join me for a run every weekend.

"I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from relatives, friends and colleagues, who’ve donated generously and even taken on their own 5k runs, in solidarity.

Michael has already raised over £600 for the charity, with Brain Tumour Research's Joe Woollcott praising him for continuing the challenge in isolation.

“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," he said.

"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.”


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