Mark Radcliffe and Dexter_790

Mark's story - keeping Kira's memory alive

Midway through a tough fundraising trek in memory of his recently deceased daughter Kira, Mark Radcliffe faced a terrifying situation. All alone, in the searing heat of the Gobi Desert and at the end of his rations, Mark thought he was dying.

Words: Mark Radcliffe

I wasn’t scared. I thought if I die, I’ll be with Kira again. She was my purpose in life and when she died, I felt like I had no life without her.

Kira was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour rarely found in children – Glioblastoma Multiforme. She died within eight months aged just 10 years old. It took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened. The grief was agonising. In the meantime I embarked on a 20,000 mile trek to the Sea of Japan with my dog Dexter in a pickup truck. Struggling with suicidal thoughts, I set out with the intention of never coming back – it was a one-way trip.

I spent most of the journey crying because of the emotional turmoil. But I had an epiphany and realised that I needed to honour her rather than try to die to be with her. It was the kick I needed to keep going and get to the next village.  

Kira was mature beyond her years. She was adventurous and outgoing – her favourite walk was England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike and that’s where she asked us to scatter her ashes.

Dexter in the desert

She was more concerned about how we, her parents, would cope without her. Shortly before she died, Kira was undergoing clinical trials in the hope that her own death might help others.

Kira on Scafell Pike 

We want to help other children facing brain tumours like Kira, and that’s why we support the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC).

The research they do at the CBTRC gives us hope that one day, other families might be spared the pain we have, and still are, enduring every day. It’s hard but knowing I am keeping Kira’s memory alive, and living by the example she set, gives me the courage I need to face each day without her.



Mark’s first trek raised £8,128, and this year, he plans to complete a number of endurance challenges to help support our Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Find out more and follow his progress: