A TEAM of travel agents are hoping to raise cash for the Walton Centre after a colleague was given life-saving brain surgery.

Hays Travel in Penton will hold a year-long fundraising campaign for the specialist neuroscience centre where assistant manager Kim Garforth, from Heswall, had an operation to remove a life-threatening brain tumour.

Their first fundraiser will be an 11 miles sponsored hike over Hope Mountain in North Wales on April 22.

Mum-of-two Kim said: "I’ve climbed it once before for a fundraiser a couple of years ago and I found it really hard going as the ground is so uneven, but I did it then so I can do it again.

"I’ll just have to psyche myself up and go for it.”

Part of the Hays Travel team for 14 years, Kim was referred to the Walton Centre by her GP five years ago after suffering headaches and facial numbness.

After scans it was revealed that Kim had a tumour close to her optic nerve.

She was told she needed to have a craniotomy operation and although most of the tumour was removed during surgery, a small amount had to be left behind.

Kim told the Standard’s sister paper the Globe: "It was lying right along my carotid artery and the surgeons had to be very careful not to cut into the artery as that would have killed me.

"The operation took them eight hours because it was in such a tricky position and they removed as much as possible.”

She was given the option of travelling to the USA for proton beam treatment in an attempt to destroy the remaining tumour but was told there was a high chance that she may go blind.

Kim added: "I decided that I did not want to miss out on seeing my children grow up so I chose not to do that. But it’s important for me to still have regular check-ups to monitor the remaining bit of the tumour and detect any further growth.

"So far I’ve been lucky that it’s stayed fairly stable.

“If it wasn't for those at the Walton Centre, I wouldn’t be here today.

"They saved my life.

"That’s why I want to do something to pay them back for helping me and so many other patients. The centre needs all the support it can get to carry on its work.”

Kim is now back at work but must undergo yearly brain scans at The Walton Centre.

Colleague and Hays Travel store manager Dionne Taylor said: “We’re a small team and usually take it in turns to select a charitable organisation each year but the Walton Centre is so close to all our hearts that we all agreed it was the best choice for 2018.

“Kim is not just a work colleague but a good friend and we saw this as a great way of saying thank you to the medical team which helped her through such a traumatic time.”

As well as the sponsored walk, the troop of travel agents will be organising other fundraising activities such as cake sales and tombolas.

“There’s even talk of one person doing a sponsored sky dive."

To make donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hays-travel-prenton