Sue's New Year Message
On April 28th 2009, we launched Brain Tumour Research at the House of Commons – 14 founding Member Charities put their heads together to raise awareness and increase funding for vital research into brain tumours which had been ‘woefully underfunded’ and ‘a poor relation to other cancers’. We vowed that together we would fight for greater awareness and funding for this terrible disease.
2019 marks the 10th anniversary of our launch and with your support we have much to be proud of and much to look forward to.
Our vision is simple; we want to find a cure for brain tumours and in order to do this we campaign for an increased national investment in brain tumour research and we raise funds to establish and sustain dedicated Research Centres of Excellence.
We now support research at four Centres: The Universities of Portsmouth and Plymouth, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College. We are currently able to grant
£1.5 million a year between them and want to be able to support them with more.
Our 2015 ‘Invest in a Cure’ manifesto shone a spotlight on the continued underfunding and went to the heart of Westminster with the e-petition started by the Realf family. With our support, the petition gained over 120,000 signatures and a Westminster Hall debate, which led to the establishment of the Department of Health and Social Care Sub-Committee Task and Finish Group on brain tumour research.
2018 started with the publication of the Task and Finish Group Report which led to the Government committing to allocate £20 million over the next five to seven years.
Following the death of Baroness Tessa Jowell in May 2018 they committed a further £20 million. Cancer Research UK who made brain tumours one of their strategic priorities in 2015 also committed £25 million over the next five to seven years.
However, this is still not enough and our work is not done!
Since national records began in 2002, less than 1% of UK national cancer research funding – which includes the Government and Cancer Research UK – has gone into brain tumour research, whilst cancers such as breast and leukaemia have received 7% – that’s £30-£35 million a year.
Both of these cancers have seen significant improvements in treatments as a result. For all cancers, over 50% of patients survive more than five years. For brain tumour patients, 80% die within five years of diagnosis.
This has got to change!
The Government and Cancer Research UK may now be supporting brain tumour research but there is a catch – in order to access these funds, it requires dedicated early-stage research and preliminary findings in order to demonstrate the results that will lead to new treatments and cures.
That’s where we come in! The research at our Centres will provide that preliminary evidence and our researchers will then be able to access the new funding that has been made available.
Along with strategic partners, we want to fund each of our Centres with £1 million a year whilst continuing to hold the Government and Cancer Research UK to account.
Brain tumours are devastating. They are devastating for patients; they are devastating for their families; they are devastating for the nurses and clinicians who have to break the news and they are devastating for the researchers who want to find a cure.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
Parents are losing their children and children are losing their parents.
2018 has been recognised across the charity sector as a tough year for fundraising. Our ability to stay in touch with all of the amazing people who support us has been hampered by new data protection legislation – though of course we take protecting our supporters’ data seriously – worry over Brexit uncertainty and the knock-on effects of austerity are also challenges that charities are facing.
That’s why we are so grateful for your help with fundraising in order to help us campaign to increase the national investment in brain tumour research and sustain the research at our four dedicated Centres. We receive no government funding and rely on you, our supporters and organisations, to help keep our vital research going.
Please do what you can to fundraise and please help us to raise as much money as we can to continue to campaign and to continue to fund research and find a cure.
Let 2019 be the year when we smash all fundraising targets and we build on the research foundations we have laid over our first 10 years.
Thanks for all you do.
Together we will find a cure!
Sue Farrington Smith MBE