Charlie’s new challenge...

Charlie Boutwood
Charlie Boutwood

Twenty years to the month since he received a brain tumour diagnoses, Charlie Boutwood will be taking part in a Round the Island yacht race to help raise charity funds.

Charlie, the inspiration behind the local charity Charlie’s Challenge, will be joining the crew of Cadenza and, along with 1,500 other yachts, race round the Isle of Wight.

Charlie’s Challenge is a charity which raises money to finance urgently needed research into children’s brain tumours aiming to provide better treatments for brain tumour sufferers and eventually find a cure.

It was established in 1993 after Charlie, then aged 20 months, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour.

Having had an emergency eight hour operation which was only able to remove three-quarters of the tumour, he endured a testing year of intense chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiotherapy which meant a general anaesthetic every day.

Against the odds he has made a remarkable recovery and – after attending Eastbourne schools St Andrew’s School, Meads and St Bede’s – is now enjoying life to the full.

However, brain tumours now account for the highest mortality rate in childhood cancer – brain tumours kill more people under 40 than any other cancer and yet less than 1 per cent of the money spent on cancer research goes to brain tumours.

Charlie’s dad Nigel Boutwood, trustee of Charlie’s Challenge, said, “Taking part in The Round the Island is great fun although it can be a little hairy at times!

“However we really want to use this opportunity to hammer home the urgent need for funds to invest in brain tumour research.”

The Charlie’s Challenge Ball, held biannually at Eastbourne’s Grand Hotel, raised £39,000 for research into children’s brain tumours last November.

Most of the people involved with the charity live and work locally.

See www.charlieschallenge.com or www.roundthe island.org.uk for more information.