Family of Cuckfield businessman who died from brain tumour raising money to help find a cure

The family of a Cuckfield businessman who tragically died from a brain tumour are raising money in his memory.

Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 9:59 am

Roger Hawkins, 67, died on September 15, having been diagnosed ten months previously with an inoperable glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour.

The well-respected businessman who set up and ran Planet Partitioning in Burgess Hill was a beloved husband, dad and grandad.

Now, his family wants to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research to help find a cure for the deadly disease.

Roger Hawkins. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

“Having been shocked at how underfunded research into brain tumours is, mum, my sister-in-law, Terri Hawkins, and I took part in Brain Tumour Research’s Santa Dash back in December and now mum and I, along with my daughter Ella are walking 10,000 steps every day in February,” said his daughter, Lauren Garner, 39.

“My brother Richard is also doing a virtual Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge for the charity.”

Lauren, a mum to 12-year-old Fin and Ella, nine, said her dad fell down a couple of steps and winded himself in October 2019, but she and the family put it down to him losing his footing.

He was not 100 per cent for a couple of weeks, she said. He had an excruciating headache, was forgetful and had developed some weakness down his left side.

Diane Hawkins and Lauren Garner. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

“When I saw dad, he didn’t look right,” added Lauren.

“We had his blood sugar checked and asked the GP to check for a possible urine infection. The GP referred him to the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. It was there that dad had a scan which revealed he had a lesion in the brain.”

Roger was told his tumour was inoperable. He was given medication which restored his mobility and helped decrease the swelling around the tumour, relieving his pain.

He also underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Park Centre in Brighton.

Ella Garner. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

“It made him completely exhausted and all he said he wanted was ‘R&R’, as he put it,” said Lauren.

“We had done some research and found Visualase, a pioneering MRI-guided laser ablation treatment, through a Harley Street specialist, but sadly dad was never strong enough to start it and due to Covid-19 it was never an option.”

Just days before Roger passed away, Lauren said she and the family had no idea that he was in the last stages of his life.

“We were told dad was depressed and in a dark place and needed to pull his socks up,” she said.

The Hawkins family. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

“Shortly after that, he was taken into hospital suffering with dehydration. Just four days later we lost him.

“Since then, we have discovered that dad actually had all the symptoms and signs of being close to the end.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Our heartfelt thoughts go out to all the Hawkins family as they grieve for Roger. Another family devastated by this cruel disease.

“We are really grateful to Diane, Lauren and Ella for taking part in our 10,000 steps challenge and for helping to raise awareness.”

Roger leaves behind his wife, Diane, his four children: Darran, 46, Richard, 42, Lauren, 39, and 29-year-old Luke, as well as seven grandchildren between the ages of nine and 22.

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Diane’s fundraising, visit www.facebook.com/donate/1518699264986441, or via Lauren’s fundraising at www.facebook.com/donate/2897301060593779.

Or you can donate to Richard’s fundraising – currently running virtually from Land’s End to John O’Groats – via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-end2end.