Hats on for brain tumour research fundraising event
The sister and friend of a man who died from a brain tumour are organising a Wear A Hat fundraising event in his memory.
Mrs Alicia Costello, who now lives in Nottingham but is previously from the Southwell area, lost her brother on June 28, 2015.
Mr Rik Pieniazek, of Nottingham, a security engineer, was given just three months to live on diagnosis.
He declined conventional treatments because of their negative side-effects and tried alternative options, including changing his diet.
He cut out sugars and discovering a love for boiled chicken feet due to their immense nutritional value.
He extended his life by eight months and died a month after his 50th birthday, leaving behind his wife, Zoe, and his nine-year-old twins.
Mrs Costello said: “Rik was a larger-than-life character.
“I can honestly say once you had met him you would never forget him.
“He was a joker who never took life too seriously.”
Mrs Costello co-founded and runs Southwell Scoop with Mrs Michelle Spriddell, of Upton.
Southwell Scoop is an online discussion and community engagement forum for the town and surrounding villages.
Mrs Spriddell, who is co-organising the Wear A Hat event, and was a friend of Mr Pieniazek, said: “Rik researched everything that was worth knowing about the disease.
“We were all utterly inspired by his determination and positive belief he carried right through until the end.”
Wear A Hat Day is a national initiative organised by the Brain Tumour Research charity to raise money for research at its four UK centres of excellence.
The fundraising event will be at The Full Moon, Morton, from 6pm on Thursday (March 29), and will include a raffle, stalls, live music and hats of all shapes and sizes.
One of the stalls will be run by national company Trendco, which makes wigs and headwear for people suffering hair loss and runs a monthly support group in Southwell.
There will be an Indian head masseuse, and the chance to sample Indian food.
A milliner, based at Upton, will showcase her designs.
The event is free to attend. Money raised will be through donations.
Raffle prizes include tickets to the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham; £40 gift vouchers for Southwell’s Body And Soul shop; and a pass for a family of four to The Lost City Adventure Golf.
A prize for the most creative hat will be awarded.
As part of the event Mrs Spriddell will take part in a mad hat dash, in which she will run in and out of businesses that have helped toward the event showing off weird and wonderful hats.
She said: “I will stream the mad hat dash on Facebook live as it is a nice way of getting all of the local businesses involved and bring us all together.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet this area of research into cancer receives just 1% of the national spend.
Mrs Spriddell said: “Our main aim is to raise awareness of how young people can be when diagnosed with brain tumours and get more people to raise their voices in regards to the lack of funding toward it.
“There is a steadily growing momentum and more evidence is being gathered to address the funding issue in Parliament.”
They are hoping to raise as much as they can in memory of Mr Pieniazek and the research he did into brain tumours.
Mrs Costello said: “Rik spent so much time and energy in the last months of his life trawling the internet for facts, statistics, new research and latest treatments, and all the knowledge he learnt about cancer has been so many people’s gain but we need to know more.”
To make a donation towards the fundraising go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alicia-costello1