A grandfather is taking on the 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge to find a cure for the disease which killed a family friend.

Kantilal Manji, 85, of Pinner in North London was inspired to take on the challenge for the charity Brain Tumour Research because Watford grandad Mahendra Mehta passed away, aged 68, seven months after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

Lavina Mehta MBE, Mahendra’s daughter-in-law, said: “We are so humbled that Kantilal is taking on this epic walk. He is just 5’ 3”, has had a hip replacement and suffers with bronchitis, but despite the freezing cold weather, he hasn’t missed a day getting out to complete his steps. 

“Like Kantilal, my dad was a devoted grandfather, father and husband, dedicating his life to his family and charitable causes.”

Kantilal lost his wife Sushila in 2014, having cared for her after she had two major strokes.

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Mahendra and Lavina Mehta

Simran, 22, who lives next door to her grandfather Kantilal, said: “My grandmother had to go into a nursing home, but Dada was so devoted to her that he would spend every day with her. He used to leave home at 5am so he could be with her and make sure she was well cared for all day until he had to leave at 9pm to return home to sleep.

“Dada is my best friend and I am his. We keep each other’s secrets and if I am home late, he will often come and pick me up and sneak me home!

“He’s always been energetic and active. When I was still at school, he would always take part in the parents’ race, invariably coming last, but always with a big smile on his face.

“When the first lockdown came, Dada lost his normal confident and outgoing nature for a while and was afraid to go outside. But he did spend an hour each day walking up and down the garden.

“Dada is now enjoying walking around his neighbourhood getting his step count up, but misses seeing friends, family and neighbours because of the pandemic.

“I am so proud of what Dada is doing for such an important cause, despite his fragile health.”

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Lavina, a personal trainer, is also undertaking the 10,000 Steps in February Challenge.  

Lavina said: “I am really enjoying working with the amazing team at Brain Tumour Research and providing support on their 10,000 steps Facebook page with fitness tips, workouts and stretches, as well as doing the challenge myself. 

“Brain Tumour Research is a very important cause to me. My father-in-law, Papa, was an incredible man. We lost him seven years ago this month and on 16 February it would have been his 75th birthday.

"To mark the occasion, I provided a free live fundraising workout for all the 10,000 Steps Challenge participants and across my social media platforms with my mother-in-law, husband and son.”

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Mahendra’s passing affected a lot of people and we will be thinking of him especially on 24 February – the seventh anniversary. 

“We are really grateful to Kantilal and Lavina for taking part in our 10,000 steps challenge and for helping to raise awareness.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Kantilal’s fundraising page click here and to for Lavina’s page click here