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

Member Charity announces major funding in Shay’s memory

The family of a 13-year-old is fulfilling his wish to set up a charity in his name as they mark the first anniversary of his passing from an aggressive and incurable brain tumour. 

Shayen Patel (known to all as Shay) died on 1st September 2020, less than two years after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour. He wanted to help other families with children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and, while he was still alive, he and his family began planning to set up Shay’s Smiles. The charity will help children and their families access specialist doctors and healthcare facilities and fund vital research to help find a cure for brain tumours.

Shay’s mum, Niki, said: “Setting up Shay’s Smiles, which is becoming a Member Charity of Brain Tumour Research, is our way of doing something positive for other families. Our dearest wish is that Shay’s legacy brings hope for families in the future who learn that a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.”

Coinciding with the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Shay’s Smiles has announced that it will fund a PhD student over a four-year period at a cost of £143,657. The researcher will be working within a team of experts at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), developing new treatment strategies to inhibit the progression of GBM brain tumours.

Sue Farrington Smith MBE, our Chief Executive, said: “Losing a child to a brain tumour is devastating; you never get over it. When my sister’s little girl Alison Phelan passed away in June 2001, just three weeks before her eighth birthday, we were shocked at the lack of awareness and horrified to discover how little research was going into brain tumours.

“Brain Tumour Research is indebted to Shay’s family and Shay’s Smiles for their incredible donation and support to fund the fight against brain tumours. Together we will help find a cure so that no other families have to go through the devastation that our families have.”

Our thoughts are with Shay’s family and all of his loved ones today as we mark the first anniversary of his tragic death.

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