Pianist plays part for neurosurgery

More than $16,000 was raised for the Dunedin neurosurgery campaign in Arrowtown on Saturday night, making it the largest fundraiser for the cause in the Queenstown area.

Chair of neurosurgery campaign project manager Irene Mosley said the sold-out Brains and Brawn night, which included a dinner, an auction and rugby on a cinema screen, "exceeded all expectations".

Mark Wilson, of Queenstown, said he "benefited greatly" from the brain surgery he had in Dunedin in 2009 and on Saturday night he put his fingers behind the fundraiser to help others.

Mr Wilson, an accomplished pianist who has been blind since birth, said a series of seizures led to the discovery of a brain tumour.

"It was just my good fortune that they had the right person there at the time," Mr Wilson said of his surgeon, who he said was primarily based in Afghanistan with the British Army.

The Brains and Brawn fundraiser was organised by Jillian Jardine, of Remarkables Station, and Mr Wilson said he was the "logical choice" as musician.

Mr Wilson said he was thrilled to be part of the campaign to raise $3 million to fund a neurosurgery position in Dunedin.

"The hope of setting up the neurological chair to get that degree of support is vitally important.

"I have benefited greatly with the surgery I had in 2009 and everybody else should be entitled to the same degree of care I had and it should not be seen as a luxury."

His grade two tumour was life-threatening and he said the fact he was able to participate in the fundraiser was testament to neurological research.

"It was only two years ago that neurology was under a great cloud with the real possibility that it was going to be shifted away [from Dunedin]."

The cause was also important to his wife, Emma, who lost her first husband to a brain tumour.

"He was diagnosed 12 years ago and there was no operation available.

"Now he would be operated on and potentially would be around today," Mrs Wilson said.

Medical research continued to advance and "we need more people researching and operating and finding out what can be done", she said.

The $16,000 added to more than $2.6 million raised through various fundraisers.