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

Remembering Ollie on his 18th birthday

Today we are thinking of the family and friends of Ollie Gardiner on what should have been his 18th birthday.

Ollie was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma in May 2015, aged 10. Despite treatment, including emergency craniotomies, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the cancer returned and the family was told that there were no further options available on the NHS.

His parents Jane and Peter, along with friends, launched an appeal which raised almost £500,000 to fund pioneering immunotherapy treatment for Ollie in Germany, but nothing could save him. Ollie passed away in November 2017, aged just 13.

Peter (pictured with Ollie) said: “We’ll be marking Ollie’s birthday quietly as we always do and looking through the boxes and boxes of mementoes and stuff which belonged to him.

“It’s some comfort that his friends at John Colet School in Wendover, who are all turning 18, still honour Ollie’s memory. His best friend George Walter recently gave a talk to the younger years at the school to tell them about Ollie and his legacy – it’s lovely he isn’t being forgotten.”

Three years ago, the family generously donated £187,000 of the residue of their crowdfunding to Brain Tumour Research. This sum is funding post-doctoral researcher Sara Badodi at our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London.

Sara said: “Very rarely does a day go by when Ollie isn’t at some point in my thoughts as I work in our lab. I would have liked to have shown him the work we are doing but now we do it in his memory and I am so thankful to his family for the funding they gave us and the opportunity to learn more about his tumour type that this funding presents. It is such a poignant time for Ollie’s family and while they are remembering this lovely boy and grieving the man he should have become, we are doing everything we can to make a future diagnosis of a medulloblastoma, one that brings with it the hope of a full recovery.”

Our Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE said: “Losing a child is totally devastating as Peter and Jane have discovered in the most painful way imaginable. And what should have been Ollie’s 18th birthday – the brink of adulthood and a big new chapter of his life – must be truly agonising for them.

“We are determined to keep Ollie’s light shining. His story reminds us that just 12.5% 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. Brain Tumour Research is determined to change outcomes for brain tumour patients and ultimately find a cure and we are striving to ensure that Ollie’s legacy helps to achieve this vision.”

To donate in Ollie’s memory, go to https://oliver-gardiner.muchloved.com/

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