A managing director at Deutsche Bank, who is from Twickenham, will see in the New Year on Mount Kilimanjaro as he aims to raise thousands of pounds to fund research into finding a cure for brain tumours.

Rolf Zartner, 45, hopes to raise £15,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity after losing four friends. He said: “Over the years I’ve lost four friends to brain tumours. All were a similar age to me and they were fit and healthy when they were diagnosed; however, I’ve since learned that the disease is indiscriminate and having youth and fitness on your side doesn’t help.

"Sadly, they each had glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumours – one of the most aggressive types of the disease – and they died shortly after diagnosis. They were aged between 29 and 42 when they passed. A close friend of mine also lost her dad to a brain tumour.”

The businessman will set out on Saturday, December 29 with 11 other climbers and together they will ascend 5,895 metre's (19,341ft) to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit.

In contrast to his usual New Year’s Eve destinations in the Middle East, Rolf will face tough conditions as he nears the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, walking for an average of seven hours each day for eight days.

Altitude and oxygen levels will drop to extremely low levels and the climbers will take in less and less oxygen with each breath, putting them at risk of severe altitude sickness.

Rolf said: “New Year’s Eve is certainly going to be different for me this year. I usually spend it on holiday with my wife and daughter but this year I’m swapping flip-flops and shorts for a hiking kit.

"I’ve done some climbing in the Alps before but nothing as challenging as Kilimanjaro. It’s going to be tough but it’s nothing compared to what brain tumour patients are facing each day and it’s easy sacrificing a holiday for such an important cause.

"I know £15,000 won’t be enough to find a cure but I hope I can raise awareness and encourage others to support more research.”

Janice Wright, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re extremely grateful for Rolf’s support and we wish him all the best for his Kilimanjaro challenge. Rolf’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and they can affect anyone at any age.

"What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1 percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. I hope people will be inspired by his challenge and help us to fund the fight as we cannot allow this situation to continue.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at Research Centres of Excellence 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 an annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

To donate to Rolf click here.