A BRAIN tumour survivor is embarking on a gruelling challenge in one of the world's most remote terrains of glaciers and frozen tundra.

Dad-of-five Rob Ward is joining an expedition to Spitsbergen between Norway and the North Pole in March to give hope to other people given this daunting diagnosis.

The 45-year-old marathon runner, from Alderley Edge, was fit and healthy when he suddenly fell ill.

"It all happened out of the blue," said Rob. "I went to sleep one night and woke up with an ambulance crew in my bedroom.

"I had a full blown seizure whilst I was asleep."


Rob Ward and brother John

Rob Ward and brother John looking forward to the 'experience of a lifetime'


After extensive tests, he was diagnosed with a frontal lobe brain tumour and underwent life-saving surgery.

"It was very frightening," said Rob, managing director of a packaging company. "I was a bit numb not knowing what to do, it was a real shock.

"An amazing neuro-surgical team at Salford Royal Hospital gathered a team of specialists to remove the rare tumour.

"Their level of care and treatment is incredible."

Rob had to undergo similar surgery four years later when an MRI scan detected a small tumour growing again.

The operations have been successful.

"I want to show people dealing with the shock and horror of being told they have a brain tumour that you can still lead a normal day to day life," said Rob.


Rob, centre, pulling a sled along the beach in training

Rob, centre, pulling a sled along the beach in training


"Eight years down the line, you can operate at a high level."

Rob hopes to raise £10,000 for The Lewis Moody Foundation who team up with The Brain Tumour Charity to help fund vital research, support and awareness.

The keep fit enthusiast has already cycled from London to Paris, raising £130,000 and organised a charity ball.

Since Christmas, he has been training with brother and dad-of-two John, 50, from Alderley Edge, who is joining the challenge with eight others.


Rob Ward and brother John

Rob Ward and brother John, training for their gruelling expedition


"We're building up our stamina, leg and core strength," said Rob.

Polar adventurer Alan Chambers MBE, who headed the first unsupported team 500 miles from Canada to the North Pole, is leading the expedition.

"It will be so incredibly cold, we have to be careful we don't get frostbite," said Rob.


Rob Ward and the expedition team

Rob Ward and the expedition team raising funds for vital research, support and awareness of brain tumours


"We will be on open snow or ice pulling our sleds with our own kit, tent and food.

"There is a degree of the unknown and risk but I'm really excited and dead keen to get on with it.

"I'm delighted my little brother is joining me. It will be the experience of a lifetime."

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/robert-ward-spitsbergen