Page last updated at 00:01 GMT, Sunday, 21 February 2010

Woman in 'rent-a-date' bid for brain tumour research

By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News

Lisa Connell
Lisa wants to raise money for research

When Lisa Connell was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour she wanted to do something to help tackle the condition.

She decided to set herself a target of raising £1m before she died. And she hit upon rather a novel idea of raising the cash - auctioning herself.

"I couldn't walk and was paralysed and my dad got me a gym membership to try and get me fit," she said.

"I went every day and worked round the clock."

When specialists told her she might never walk again, she advertised on her MySpace page that she was doing a 10k run.

"I got £3,500 from people I did not even know and I kept getting e-mails saying 'you look fit', and I was like, 'you know what - put your money where your mouth is'.

"So I came up with the idea to 'Rent A Date For Charity'."

Every time I go back to see my neurosurgeon at Guys Hospital he says he can't say whether it is months, days or decades I have, they just don't know
Lisa Connell

Lisa has now been on innumerable dates.

"I have been on loads of dates but I love meeting people and I am a bubbly person.

"I am up for auction at the moment, but I have had to slow down a bit because I don't get time to see my own friends and family."

In total so far, "Rent A Date For Charity" has managed to raise just over £18,500.

Prognosis

Lisa, 30, from north London, said nobody has been able to tell her what the future holds, but said that her benign tumour, called a meningioma, has recently stopped growing for the first time.

Lisa Connell
Lisa hopes to raise 1m

It was detected three years ago when she started experiencing double vision.

"My balance went completely and I couldn't co-ordinate myself and my perception of where everything was, was completely out," she explained.

"The doctors said I would never walk again."

The tumour is inoperable but last year she was given gamma knife treatment, which uses highly focused beams of radiation to attack cancer cells.

"They know it will never shrink the tumour but they hope that it may at least slow it down," she said.

"Every time I go back to see my neurosurgeon at Guys Hospital he says he can't say whether it is months, days or decades I have, they just don't know."



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