Clarion names The Darel Bryan Foundation ‘Charity of the Year’ in memory of beloved colleague

Staff at Clarion Housing Group have voted for The Darel Bryan Foundation, raising money for Brain Tumour Research, as their chosen ‘charity of the year’ in memory of their colleague Darel, who tragically passed away from the illness.

Darel joined Affinity Sutton (now part of Clarion Housing Group), as a Housing Officer in March 2008 and continued as an employee until he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2015. 

Darel’s partner of 12 years Natalie Overs and his family set up the foundation under the umbrella of pioneering national charity Brain Tumour Research to raise funds to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure for brain tumours.

Clarion held a competition, inviting staff to nominate a charity of their choice to become Charity of the Year which all offices across the organisation will raise funds for. The Darel Bryan foundation received 65% of the votes, after being nominated by Darel’s mum Sara Bryan who works as a Customer Service Advisor for Clarion Housing Group.

Sara Bryan said: “Three charities were shortlisted.  I was so touched when the Darel Bryan Foundation won with 65% of the vote, reflecting the respect and affection Darel’s colleagues had for him.”

Natalie Overs said: “I will never forget the phone call I had on 20th November 2014 from Darel’s work colleague and best friend, Samantha Littley, telling me Darel had suffered a seizure. I could not even comprehend this at the time because Darel was one of the healthiest people I knew. He never even got colds.

“It was so traumatic to discover that he had a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4), the most aggressive, deadly and sadly the most common brain tumour there is, with a typical prognosis of 12 to 18 months.

“After six weeks of radiotherapy, twelve months of five different chemotherapies, two surgeries, over five months of hospital stays, nearly four months of being bedbound, every alternative and natural treatment for GBM4, diet changes, a nutritionist who specialises in brain tumours in the US, a large cocktail of repurposed drugs… the battle was over and no more could be done to save the love of my life.  We tried everything we possibly could but GBM4 really is a battle that to date is impossible to overcome.

“It doesn’t make sense to think that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”

Sandra Sanglin, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Clarion Housing Group, said: “Each office within the group will be organising fundraising events to raise money for the Darel Bryan Foundation, with ideas to date including bake sales, tuck shops, quizzes and dress-down Fridays.  Clarion Housing will match all funds raised.  A total close to £50,000 was raised for Well Child, our previous Charity of the Year.”

Carol Robertson, Community Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are delighted that Clarion Housing Group have chosen us as their Charity of the Year and are hugely grateful for their plans to fundraise and raise awareness.

“Brain Tumour Research is striving to fund a network of seven dedicated research centres whilst challenging the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in brain tumour research.  Help us fund the fight. Together we will find a cure.”

Brain Tumour Research is campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The charity, which receives no government funding, is building a network of experts working at world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK, with four already established.