A MUSSELBURGH teenager is teaming up with her dad and the family dog for a year of challenges inspired by her mum, who is living with a brain tumour.

Madelaine Powell, 16, will brave a tandem skydive at St Andrews in June and her dad Steve, 50, is walking 1,200 miles with their two-year-old Italian gun dog Arno in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity.

Mum Susan, 47, was diagnosed in 2001 with an oligodendroglioma brain tumour when Madelaine, also known as Maddy, was just six months old. She underwent surgery a few months later and recovered well.

Maddy, a pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School, said: “In 2009, a routine scan showed further changes to her brain, resulting in radiotherapy in the January and February of 2010.

“Being only nine years old at the time, it was difficult for me to grasp the concept of why mum was losing her hair.

“Then again, at the age of 15, when I was able to comprehend the extent of my mum’s illness and being fully aware of the terrifying thought of a brain tumour, mum had further scans that showed she had to have more surgery.

“She underwent an awake craniotomy, which is as frightful as it sounds.  “By living one day at a time, my brother [Luke, 13] and I have been given the most normal life considering the circumstances, though our normal can be very different than the perceived idea.

“Our mum is and has been an incredibly brave woman and she’s an inspiration to me and many others.

“Her most recent scan was stable and the chemotherapy had worked. She’ll now have another scan in six months’ time.”

Maddy and her dad are determined to do all they can to raise awareness of the devastating impact brain tumours can have on all those affected and raise vital funds for research into finding a cure.

Maddy said: “When your life has been changed and impacted so heavily by an illness, it makes you want to do all you can do help and contribute to curing it.

“As long as I am able I want to do as much as I can to help in raising money to end brain tumours.

“I think growing up with my mum being ill and affected by her tumour and epilepsy has made us appreciate everything in life more and made us the people we are today. I have definitely turned into a stronger and more resilient person as a result of growing up around mum.

“My dad’s trek with Arno is a perfect way to raise money while educating others about the effects of brain tumours as he meets people along the way.  “I decided to skydive as it was the scariest thing I could think of, which would hopefully raise a lot of money.”

Steve, a telecommunications engineer who served with the RAF, said: “It has been a really enjoyable year trying to raise my target, as I’m doing it while out with my best pal Arno.  “It is also a time for me to unwind and reflect on how things are going.  “I haven’t managed to get as far afield as I hoped due to the effects of Susan’s eight months of chemotherapy, as she has needed me close at hand, but me and my right-hand dog have managed to put in the miles around East Lothian. I am just overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.”

The weekend walks take Steve and Arno to parts of Scotland including the Lothians, Edinburgh and Crieff. They started on March 27 last year – Susan’s birthday – and will finish on the same date this year, averaging about 100 miles each month.

So far the family have raised over £4,000.

Geraldine Pipping, The Brain Tumour Charity’s director of fundraising, said: “We are committed to fighting for all those people whose lives are turned upside down by this devastating disease.  “Maddy and Steve’s fundraising plans are fantastic and we’re behind them all the way.

“We receive no government funding and rely 100 per cent on voluntary donations and gifts in wills, so it’s only through the efforts of Maddy, Steve and their family and friends, and the bravery of Susan, that we can work towards our twin goals of doubling survival and halving the harm caused by brain tumours.”

Donate to Maddy’s efforts at justgiving.com/Madelaine-Powell – for Steve, go to justgiving.com/StephenPowell360 Find out more about brain tumours at the braintumourcharity.org