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

Remembering Ali – 20 years on

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the loss of Alison Phelan, the beloved niece of Brain Tumour Research Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE.

Ali had been diagnosed with a brain stem glioma in August 2000 and her family was shocked and horrified to discover how little funding went into research into brain tumours despite it being the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40. Determined to help others, they set up the charity Ali’s Dream.

Their charity was instrumental in establishing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours and led the coming together of brain tumour charities to launch Brain Tumour Research.

Ali’s Dream has raised more than £1 million to fund vital research into childhood brain tumours. Between 2002 and 2009, they supported 10 research projects at UK universities and in 2010, in collaboration with Charlie’s Challenge and Brain Tumour Research, they established the first Brain Tumour Research Centre within the University of Portsmouth, specifically supporting research at the Alison Phelan Memorial Lab.

Sue said: “The strength that my sister Julie and her husband Gary showed so soon after losing Ali and their determination to find a cure will always inspire me.

“Twenty years on and the fate of children and adults diagnosed with these tumours has not improved. The five-year survival rate is just 12% compared to an average of 50% for other cancers. These families need a cure now.

“Inspired by Ali, and the many families we have met along the way, Brain Tumour Research has been a driving force for change, shining a spotlight on the urgent need for more funding for research into brain tumours.”

Today, we are especially remembering Ali and thinking of her loved ones. We are also thinking of all of those who have lost someone or who know someone who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Please continue to campaign with us and fundraise for us so that we can continue the fight against this devastating disease.

Together we will find a cure.

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