A GP from Northwich has completed an epic paddling challenge by canoeing 115 miles in memory of a dear friend who died from a rare brain tumour.

Dr Danny Magona, 35, paddled all the way from Birmingham to Manchester with his fellow doctor friend Dr Tim Molitor, 31 to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.

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The duo had been inspired to take on the gruelling five day trip after their friend and fellow medic Aria Nikjooy lost his life to a medulloblastoma in February of this year.

Setting off on Sunday, July 18 their route took them from the University of Birmingham Medical School, where the trio met, to Manchester, where Aria lived with his wife Naomi and their toddler, Eliyas. Aria worked as a paediatrician at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Danny and Tim’s impressive journey took them via Wolverhampton, Great Haywood, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield. The pair endured searing heat en route, canoeing up to 11 hours a day in temperatures as high as 30 degrees Celsius. They paddled for a total of 47 hours over the course of the challenge, disembarking the canoe at Merchant’s Bridge in Deansgate, where they were presented with medals by three-year-old Eliyas.

Northwich Guardian: Dr Tim Moliter (l) with Aria Nikjooy, baby Eliyas and Dr Danny Magona (r)

Dr Tim Moliter (l) with Aria Nikjooy, baby Eliyas and Dr Danny Magona (r)

Danny, who works at Earnswood Medical Centre in Crewe, said: "We were humbled by the support we received and the fact that we have raised more than £4,000 for Brain Tumour Research.

"Our trip highlighted the massive importance of this charity, as so often we met strangers, who had also been affected by this terrible disease."

Aria was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2018 and went through surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to try to keep his tumour at bay.

Then, in March 2020, the same brain tumour came back and he had a second brain surgery. Devastatingly, a second recurrence came in July 2020, resulting in another brain operation and more cancer treatment.

As part of his rehabilitation, Aria turned to writing. This culminated in him publishing a children’s fiction book to help explain the complex issues surrounding illness and cancer to his little boy, Eliyas. The story, Eddie and the Magic Healing Stone is available to purchase on Amazon, with proceeds going to Brain Tumour Research, Royal Medical Foundation, Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, and Society for Assistance of Medical Families.

Danny added: "We are incredibly proud that we had the chance to promote Aria’s legacy.

"His story of positivity and resilience touched everyone we met.

"It is of great importance that we continue to get the word out about his brilliant book and how it is a brilliant tool in describing a serious health issue to children."

Aria also wrote an autobiography, or memoir, which is a devastating but witty tale of his thoughts and feelings when dealing with – as he called it – his ‘Broken Brain’.

"Aria’s memoir was an inspiration to us both on and off the canoe" Danny said.

"It teaches you life is precious and fragile but the most important thing is to be the best version of yourself you can be, despite what life throws at you.

"We took that into our challenge and felt privileged to be paddling with Aria’s name and photo on our boat.

"He was an amazing friend and an incredibly talented man, taken too soon."

Northwich Guardian: Tim Moliter and Danny Magona on day 2 of their challenge

Tim Moliter and Danny Magona on day 2 of their challenge

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Danny said: "Raising awareness for Brain Tumour Research is incredibly important.

"With such limited treatments in this area and poor prognosis from diagnosis with many types of brain tumour, this disease can rip families apart.

"We hope by contributing to the fundraising effort we can do our bit to help improve the situation and prevent this happening to other families in the future."

Matthew Price, Brain Tumour Research’s Community Development Manager, said: "We are so grateful to Tim and Danny for taking on this huge challenge to raise money to help find a cure for brain tumours.

"Having set out to raise £2,000 for Brain Tumour Research, they’ve more than doubled that amount and made a huge contribution to the vital work we do.

"We congratulate them on their achievement.

"Aria’s tragic story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any time.

"What’s more, unlike most other cancers, incidences of and deaths from brain tumours are rising.

"We cannot allow this devastating situation to continue."

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Danny and Tim’s fundraising page, please visit: gofundme.com/f/canoeing-for-aria-nikjooy.