Bear Grylls’ moving words for fitness fanatic teen who survived brain tumour aged 9

Getting a delivery of weights and home gym equipment was a dream come true for teen fitness fanatic Darshan McGregor.

And after coming through gruelling treatment for a brain tumour, a call from Bear Grylls was the icing on the cake for the 14-year-old.

Darshan said: “He’s been through so many life-threatening challenges so he could relate to me. Bear just said keep going, keep fighting and never give up.”

Darshan’s wish for gym kit was granted by charity Make-A-Wish UK, backed by the Mirror Christmas Appeal.

He says: “It’s been amazing what they’ve been able to do.

Darshan gets fit after chemo

Darshan during his chemo treatment

“It’s really made me happy and it’s one of the things that got me through my treatments, it was one thing I thought about – ‘if I get through this, I’ll get my wish’.”

It was just over four-and-a-half years ago that the youngster from Berkhamsted, Herts, was told he had a brain tumour, at the age of nine.

Adventurer Bear Grylls in a videocall with Darshan

Darshan says: “I feel like I lost part of my childhood – I couldn’t have fun because I was constantly in hospital. It was impossible to be happy.”

Mum Samreen, 47, said: “Because the tumour was in the thalamus, right in the middle of the brain, taking a biopsy or doing any intervention to try to release the fluid in his brain was very high risk. The process was awful.”

Help a sick child’s dream come true

By Jason Beattie

For the majority of families this Christmas will be a joyous time of presents, food and fun.

But for some children the festive season will be very different.

Across the country there are more than 63,000 young people who are critically ill.

Many will be spending what should be a special time of the year in hospital.

Others will have to have treatment, scans or blood tests.

With your help we can give them a Christmas that they will always remember.

This year’s Mirror Christmas Appeal is raising funds for Make-A-Wish UK that helps seriously ill young people make their dreams come true.

It could be they want to meet their hero or heroine or feed an animal at the zoo or travel to see Santa in Lapland.

The money raised could help Joshua, six, who has severe epilepsy, achieve his wish of a bedroom makeover or Summer, also six, who has acute leukaemia and dreams of a bouncy castle.

Each year Make-A-Wish helps hundreds of critically ill children achieve their lifetime’s ambition.

But to make a wish come true takes an army of volunteers, supporters and donors.

That’s why every penny you donate could make a difference.

Granting a wish can transform a child’s life. It gives them something to look forward to.

For others it provides a special memory which makes the treatment they need more bearable.

It can also help their parents who, despite doing everything they can for their sick child, feel it is not enough.

Jason Suckley, Make-A-Wish UK chief executive, said: “I met the family of a boy who was recovering from brain surgery.

“His grandmother told me how difficult it had been for her to watch her daughter struggle with the challenges of her son’s condition.

“But while they were enjoying his wish together, her daughter turned to her and said, ‘There is still magic in this world isn’t there mum?’ .

“That’s just one instance that illustrates how the power of a wish lies in sharing positive memories with loved ones.

“Every donation from Mirror readers will help us create those memories – bringing joy to ill children and their families during the darkest of times.”

Darshan in 2017, during treatment

Samreen and marketing exec dad Fraser, 47, consulted experts and decided proton beam therapy in the US was the way to go – but it cost more than £150,000.

A plea for government funding was turned down, so they raised it themselves by remortgaging their home and setting up a Go Fund Me page.

After chemotherapy in the UK they went to Boston for the beam therapy and radiotherapy, and by October 2017 Darshan was cancer-free.

How to make a donation


Text: To donate £5 text the word LIGHT to 70030. If you’d like to give £5 but do not want marketing communications, text LIGHT NO to 70030.

You can text more than once if you wish to donate more.

Post: Please post cheques payable to MAKE-A-WISH UK to Freepost address below:

Freepost Plus RUCS-LHTL-CJGU

Make-A-Wish Mirror Appeal

Make-A-Wish UK, Seventh Floor, Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1LX

Darshan with mum Samreen, dad Fraser, and sisterer Anees in October 2021

During treatment his interest in fitness and nutrition took off. To help others he made videos for his Kidlivz YouTube channel showing him making healthy recipes.

Darshan will celebrate five years cancer-free next year. The maths whiz, who hopes to become an architect, says: “I’m trying to focus on making sure I stay nice and healthy.”

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