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Together we will find a cure Donate

Childhood Brain Tumours


Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40. Brain Tumour Research works with families to raise awareness and shine a spotlight on this devastating disease. We’re leading the way to increase the national investment in research to help improve outcomes. And we’re asking you to donate to help us fund the fight and get closer to a cure for brain tumours.

Fact File: Brain tumours in children

  • One in three children who die of cancer are killed by a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Symptoms can include headaches, nausea and vomiting, changes in vision and loss of balance
  • Treatment depends on the type of brain tumour, size and its location in the brain
  • Depending on the circumstances, children diagnosed with brain tumours might be treated with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy or a combination of one or more these
  • Medulloblastoma is the most common type of high-grade paediatric brain tumour and occurs more often in boys than in girls
  • Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the deadliest form of childhood cancer with a median overall survival of between eight and 12 months


Ryleigh with her brother after her surgery-resized

Please donate and help us get closer to a cure for all types of brain tumours, including those which affect children.

"As a parent told your child has cancer, or a brain tumour, you assume in this day and age there will be something to increase the odds and give you hope. The harsh reality with this tumour is that there are no such treatments.” – Niki O’Dea Patel, Shay’s mum (pictured)

Aaron-ccam“2020 was a year I could never have imagined in my worst nightmares and to think that someone so small could go through what Aaron’s endured, is inconceivable.” – Nicola Wharton, Aaron’s mum


“I felt complete numbness. The fear that came over me was like nothing I’d ever felt before. It was like I was living somebody else’s life.” – Elaine Paterson, Katie’s mum

We’re leading the way in research to find a cure

Brain Tumour Research is developing a specialist hub focused on paediatric research.

During 2021, we were able to build capacity at our established Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). This was made possible thanks to funding commitments which have enabled the team to grow in order to facilitate further research into childhood brain tumours.

But we still need your help. Your fundraising and donations support our vital work to fund research at our Centres of Excellence and our campaigning activity to increase the national investment into brain tumour research. You can help us increase our research capacity further in order to make the breakthroughs that will get us closer to a cure for this devastating disease.

An investment of £144,000 is funding a PhD student studying the epigenetics of medulloblastoma, the most common type of high-grade paediatric brain tumour. The research will also involve other childhood brain tumours, including ependymoma. This funding was largely possible thanks to a generous donation from our Member Charity, The Children’s Brain Tumour Foundation, on closing the charity.

Further commitments from two of our Member Charities are funding two PhD students over a four-year period at a cost of £143,657 each. The William Low Trust has committed to raise the money to fund a researcher working on developing new strategies to inhibit the progression of aggressive medulloblastoma. A third PhD student is will undertake research into childhood glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) thanks to funding from Shay’s Smiles.

A significant £250,000 grant by our founding Member Charity, Ali’s Dream, will fund a four-year postdoctoral fellow, helping the team to further its understanding of a number of high-grade paediatric brain tumours such as medulloblastoma, DIPG and ependymoma.

This increase in research capacity will allow the team to continue working and building on a breakthrough announced in April 2021 in which scientists found a new way to starve cancerous brain tumour cells of energy in order to prevent further growth. These significant findings could lead to a breakthrough in the way that children with medulloblastoma are treated in future.



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We have created a special dedication page where you can make a donation in memory of a child lost or in support of the many children and their families who are currently living with this devastating disease. You can share their name and a photograph, alongside a special message.

Make a Dedication


Alison died three weeks before her eighth birthday. Her devastated family set up our founding Member Charity Ali’s Dream which has raised more than £1 million to fund vital research.                                                

Read Alison's story


Shay was just 13 when he died. His devastated parents have launched a charity in his memory to stop other families from experiencing the heart-breaking loss of a child.                                                                                                                                

Read Shay's story


Brave Katie, eight, has been through two surgeries and radiotherapy after her diagnosis with a medulloblastoma in December 2020. She is now on a gruelling course of radiotherapy.                                                                                               

Read Katie's story



Matthew, aged 18, who died on 9 September 2021, was passionate about raising awareness of brain tumours. He was first diagnosed in 2006 when he was just three and he endured further treatment last year after his tumour returned. Tragically he was having radiotherapy treatment once again in recent weeks after the cancer spread to his spine.

Read Matthew's story 



Leah was diagnosed with a high-grade medulloblastoma when she was just two. Her treatment has left her with long-term side effects including problems with her speech and mobility hearing and vision loss, as well as severe learning difficulties and growth issues.                                                                                                                                                       

Read Leah's story 



Five-year-old Aaron faced a difficult recovery after contracting an infection following surgery to remove a tumour that had regrown. He now faces a gruelling treatment regime of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Read Aaron's story

Help us fund the fight

Your donations and fundraising enable us to build a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence, as well as campaigning to increase the national investment to £35 million a year.

Please donate and help us get closer to a cure for all types of brain tumours, including those which affect children.

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Help us build the UK's largest network of experts in sustainable brain tumour research and campaign for more investment nationally. Together we will find a cure.