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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Thank you to our Member Charity –Send-A-Message

A mother whose five-year-old son passed away from an aggressive brain tumour is winding up the charity established in his name and donating the remaining funds to Brain Tumour Research.

Sam O’Callaghan was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour in 2011. Despite undergoing multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and proton beam therapy in the US, Sam sadly passed away on 2nd May 2014.

Sam’s mum, Fiona, set up Send-A-Message after losing her son. Before he passed away his daddy, Eoin, had asked Sam what he would like the family to do and he said: “give the other [sick] children toys”.

Fiona explained: “When Sam was ill, he loved receiving gifts, especially through the post, so the idea of ‘send a message’ was born. Our aim was to send out packages of toys to children diagnosed with a brain tumour and any siblings would also receive a toy. Sam’s big brother Luke, now 15, found Sam’s illness and losing his little brother very hard and I felt that siblings shouldn’t be left out.”

As a Member Charity of Brain Tumour Research, Send-A-Message is generously passing its remaining funds of more than £19,000 to support research to find a cure for this devastating disease.

Our Chief Executive, Sue Farrington Smith MBE, said: “I have always been impressed with how Fiona and her family and friends carried out Sam’s wishes to bring joy to children with brain tumours and their siblings. We are so proud that Fiona and Send-A-Message have decided to transfer their remaining funds to Brain Tumour Research to support funding the fight against brain tumours, allowing us to carry on Sam’s legacy so that one day no family will have to lose a child to a brain tumour.

“The tragedy of Sam’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. We cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”

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