A man from Mevagissey will be completing the iconic Ironman challenge for his wife who is living with brain tumours.

Mark Sweeney is turning 60 this year and intends to “make good” on his commitment to be a “proper Ironman” by completing a 2.3-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and a marathon. It’ll be the business consultant’s third Ironman, this time taking him to Copenhagen, Denmark, on Sunday, August 20.

MARK says he hates swimming but will complete more than two miles in the water for his third Ironman
MARK says he hates swimming but will complete more than two miles in the waterfor his third Ironman ( )

Mark has previously taken part in Ironman Mallorca in 2014 and Ironman Lanzarote in 2018.

He said: “When training for my first full distance triathlon, a colleague told me that you have to do three to be a ‘proper’ Ironman. As I turn 60 in October, I intend to make good on that.”

He’s dedicating his third and final challenge to his wife, Jayne Sweeney, who was first diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma the size of a golf ball in her left ear in 1985 at only 18 years old.

At the time she had an operation to remove the mass, losing her hearing in that ear, and was monitored with regular scans, on the expectation she required no further treatment.

However, 11 years later in 1996, she needed another operation after the tumour in her ear regrew. Jayne was diagnosed with a genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2), which causes growths on nerve endings.

Mark added: “We were devastated when we were given the news. Over the years we have learnt more about how to live alongside NF2 and the side effects that the tumours have on Jayne’s daily living.”

Four years ago, a routine scan found a tumour in her right ear, which severely impacted Jayne’s balance, and she is facing complete deafness.

Mark said: “More recently a routine scan has showed the growth of even more tumours throughout her body, including on her spine. She has 12 tumours growing in her brain alone.

“Doctors are paying very close attention to a cluster of three meningioma tumours on Jayne’s brain. We have been told that operating on these tumours could cause Jayne to suffer a stroke and so we are on a watch and wait.”

Over almost four decades she has endured five operations to remove tumours from her brain, ear and ankle.

Amateur triathlete, Mark, who hates swimming, added: “A cure for NF2 will be too late for Jayne but ongoing work at the Centre of Excellence in the University of Plymouth, funded by Brain Tumour Research, offers hope for future NF2 patients. It’s why I’ve chosen to support such an important charity.

“The knowledge that I’ll be doing something to help future patients, and that I’ll never have to swim again has kept me going through the weeks of hard yards and will sustain me in the race. This one’s for you Jaynie.”

One in three people know someone affected by a brain tumour, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Jayne’s story is a reminder that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. No matter the diagnosis, brain tumours devastate the lives of those it touches. We are determined to change this. We’re really grateful to Mark for taking on this incredible challenge to support our vital research. Together we will find a cure.”

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Mark’s fundraiser, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mark-Sweeney-ironmanforjaynie