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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Bowlers, beanies, top hats and trilbies: why so many people will be wearing hats on Friday 25 March

by Sue Castle-Smith

Friday 25 March is Wear A Hat Day, raising awareness of brain tumours and raising funds for research to help find a cure.

The event, organised by the charity Brain Tumour Research, is the culmination of Brain Tumour Awareness Month and it takes place on the last Friday of March each year.

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Now in its 13th year, Wear A Hat Day has raised more than £2 million.

This year’s event has the support of celebrities including TV gardener Danny Clarke (above), who lost his sister to the disease, Dame Sheila Hancock DBE, whose grandson underwent treatment when he was just four, TV personality Sarah Beeny, who was in her 20s when she lost her mum, and supermodel and entrepreneur Caprice Bourret, who had surgery to remove a brain tumour six years ago.

Supporting the event is the Grant family from Attleborough in Norfolk. Former KISS FM presenter Stu, 49, was diagnosed with a grade 2 oligodendroglioma in 2019 and is currently stable after treatment. He is pictured with daughter Delilah, aged three, and wife Emma trying on special occasion hats.

Horses, hounds, and all manner of other animals are taking part. Joanna Dobson, 51, (above) who runs Midgeland Riding School in Blackpool, is holding a Wear A Hat Day event for riders and their mounts after losing her mum Sylvia Dobson, 79, to an aggressive brain tumour in 2020.

Money raised is vital to patients like Aaron Wharton, aged six, (pictured) who is undergoing treatment for a recurrence of a brain tumour which was first diagnosed during lockdown in 2020. The prognosis is bleak and his mum Nicola, 37, from Buckley in Flintshire, said: “What we need most of all is hope; hope that, one day, there will be improved treatments and even a cure for children like ours but without increased investment to fund research there is very little hope.

According to the charity, brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age. Some 16,000 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK this year. There are more than 120 different types and the most common aggressive form of the disease is glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which has an average prognosis of just 12 to 18 months. The Wanted star Tom Parker is living with this deadly diagnosis; it claimed the life of politician Dame Tessa Jowell.

The money raised by the charity is used to fund a network of dedicated Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence, to raise awareness of the disease and in campaigning for the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more.

You can get involved in #WearAHatDay by posting a hat selfie on social media, clubbing together with friends and family or work colleagues for a lunch event or coffee and cake or simply by making an online donation via www.braintumourresearch.org 

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

 Sue Castle-Smith, Head of PR & Communications at Brain Tumour Research on 07887 241639 or Susan@braintumourresearch.org

Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK singularly focused on finding a cure for brain tumours through campaigning for an increase in the national investment into research to £35 million per year, while fundraising to create a sustainable network of brain tumour research centres in the UK.

The £35 million a year funding would bring parity with other cancers such as breast and leukaemia after historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours. This increased commitment would enable the ground-breaking research needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease. 

Brain Tumour Research is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis.

We are also a lead player on the Steering Group for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission and we were a key influencer in the Government’s 2018 funding announcements following her death, to commit £40 million over five years. So far, just £9.3 million has been allocated and we continue to work through the APPGBT to hold the Government to account and ensure this money is spent on research into brain tumours.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
  • In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Brain tumours kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer
    • Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
    • Less than 12% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
    • Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.


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