Charity

Travel agents fundraise after doctors perform life-saving surgery on Heswall colleague

By Mary Wells

A TEAM of travel agents has launched a fundraising drive for The Walton Centre in Liverpool.

Hays Travel in Prenton is planning a year-long fundraising campaign for the specialist neuroscience centre in Fazakerley, where their assistant manager Kim Garforth from Heswall had an operation to remove a potentially fatal brain tumour.

One of their first fundraising events will be an 11 mile sponsored hike over the rugged terrain of Hope Mountain in North Wales on April 22.

Kim Garforth

Married mum of two Kim laughed that she “is not looking forward to it one bit,” but she is determined that she will be donning her walking shoes on the day ready to scale the 1,083ft high mountain.

She said: “I’ve climbed it once before for a fundraiser a couple of years ago and I found it really hard going as the ground is so uneven, but I did it then so I can do it again. I’ll just have to psyche myself up and go for it.”

Kim was referred to the specialist clinicians by her GP after six months of suffering headaches, with symptoms including facial numbness and unexplained pins and needles. A subsequent scan revealed a tumour close to her optic nerve.

She was told there was no option other than to have a craniotomy operation, after which analysis revealed the tumour to be cancerous. Although most of it was removed during the surgery, a small amount had to be left behind.

Kim explained: “It was lying right along my carotid artery and the surgeons had to be very careful not to cut into the artery as that would have killed me. The operation took them eight hours because it was in such a tricky position and they removed as much as possible.”

Kim was given the option of proton beam treatment in the USA to try to eliminate the remaining tumour, but as it is so close to her optic nerve they told her there was a high chance this might result in her going blind.

She said: “I decided that I did not want to miss out on seeing my children grow up so I chose not to do that. But it’s important for me to still have regular check-ups to monitor the remaining bit of the tumour and detect any further growth. So far I’ve been lucky that it’s stayed fairly stable.”

Kim, who lives in Heswall with husband Jeff and their two children, Libby, 12, and Matthew, 10, marks the fifth anniversary since her operation on June 20.

 Hays Travel Prenton store manager Dionne Taylor said they had no hesitation in deciding on the Walton Centre as their charity of the year.

She said: “We’re a small team and usually take it in turns to select a charitable organisation each year but the Walton Centre is so close to all our hearts that we all agreed it was the best choice for 2018.

“Kim is not just a work colleague but a good friend and we saw this as a great way of saying thank you to the medical team which helped her through such a traumatic time.”

  Head of Fundraising for The Walton Centre, Madeleine Fletcher, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the charity of the year for Hays Travel in Prenton, and really look forward to working with their team on different initiatives and events over the next 12 months.”

To sponsor the Hays Travel Prenton branch activities or make a donation visit their Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hays-travel-prenton