A Croydon woman living with a brain tumour is running the London Marathon to raise money for a charity fighting her illness.

Rosie Kavanagh, 29, had her world turned upside down in 2015 when she was diagnosed with a tumour said to be the size of an orange.

Five major operations since, the tumour has been brought under control and she is running this year's marathon alongside her fiancée in aid of The National Brain Appeal.

Rosie said: “The last four years have been tough. I used to feel anxious every time I got a headache.

"I felt like my tumour was becoming me and I didn’t want it to define me. What it has done though is made me realise that life is short and to appreciate so many things that I took for granted before.

"I accept that the tumour is a part of me, and I couldn't be more proud of what it has made me become. I am looking forward to the future and getting on with my life.”

After experiencing headaches and dizziness she initially attributed to an ear infection, on the advice of her family Rosie visited hospital for an MRI scan four years ago.

The radiographer was unable to tell Rosie what they saw, sending her straight to A&E where doctors told her not to expect to leave hospital again.

From A&E she was referred to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London, the UK’s leading centre of excellence for treating diseases of the brain, spine and nervous system, the hospital that the charity raises vital funds for.

In the following years she had five major operations in total, two surgeries in 2015 to remove the bulk of the tumour, followed by two surgeries in 2017 to remove some regrowth, and one in 2018 to put a silicone implant where part of her skull had been removed.

In addition, she had Gamma Knife Radiosurgery in 2016 and 2018 in order to maintain the size of the tumour.

Rosie’s fiancée Justin has been a great support. She said: “Justin and I could not be more proud to be taking part in the London Marathon for the first time, on behalf of The National Brain Appeal.

"I’m so pleased that we are doing this together. Justin has been a rock for me these last few years, as have my lovely family and friends. I’m also really grateful to my wonderful colleagues who have been so generous.”

She continued: “Justin and I really enjoy running together. We have always wanted to do the London Marathon and are looking forward to the day. We’re not looking for a fast time, we’ll stick together and take in the atmosphere. Someone told me that couples that run together, stay together. That makes me happy. We feel really proud to be doing this.”

To support Rosie and Justin’s London Marathon challenge go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rosie-kavanagh3