Professor with brain cancer beats the odds to reach 70th birthday

Prof Tony Hildreth with his wife, Dr Gulia Karimova-Hildreth and children,'Aziza and Max.
Prof Tony Hildreth with his wife, Dr Gulia Karimova-Hildreth and children,'Aziza and Max.
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A BRAVE Wearside family have celebrated a ‘miracle’ milestone birthday and raised money for charity.

Doctors said Professor Tony Hildreth, who has brain cancer, would not live into this year, but this month he celebrated his 70th birthday.

Tony’s wife, Dr Gulia Karimova-Hildreth, wanted to turn the occasion into a fund-raising event and managed to raise more than £600 for St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham, which has supported the Houghton family.

Tony, a former policeman and medical researcher, was diagnosed with grade four brain cancer two years ago, the condition is incurable and in recent months his health has deteriorated.

Gulia, 40, who teaches medicine at Sunderland Royal Hospital, wanted to do something positive by raising money for the hospice.

She invited family and friends for a meal at Tony’s favourite restaurant, Naz Haven in Fencehouses, and they all gave donations.

Gulia, originally from Uzbekistan, said: “When Tony had his last CT scan, the doctors suggested he wouldn’t live until Christmas. It was a miracle that he was able to celebrate his 70th birthday. We never thought this day would come and never thought this would be possible.

“Tony goes to St Cuthbert’s Hospice every Tuesday, where he gets to chat to other patients and nursing staff. All the staff involved are very kind and lovely. I thought that instead of presents, people could give donations. I’m pleased we did it. I do believe it was good for Tony and it was a big celebration.”

Among the guests were the couple’s children, Aziza, eight, and two-year-old Max.

Naz Haven owner, Ahmed Bashir, said: “We were honoured to be part of this very special occasion. We have got to know Mr Hildreth and his family during visits to the restaurant and value them not only as customers, but as friends.”

Fiona Vallis, deputy chief executive of St Cuthbert’s Hospice, said: “We are absolutely delighted and so grateful for the fundraising efforts of Tony Hildreth’s family. We are incredibly dependent on fundraising in the community and this money is very much appreciated. A big thank you from everybody.”