Together we will find a cure Donate
Together we will find a cure Donate


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

Brain Tumour Research in the headlines

by Alexa Davies

The big breaking story in October was the news that Brain Tumour Research is working alongside the BBC and Macmillan Cancer Support on an EastEnders storyline which has seen popular character Lola Pearce – played by Danielle Harold – diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM).

As the news broke at the start of the month, our Head of PR and Communications Sue Castle-Smith – who is working closely with the EastEnders team to ensure the harrowing storyline to ensure it is portrayed as realistically and as sensitively as possible – was quoted widely in the media:

“We are extremely grateful to EastEnders for helping to raise awareness of brain tumours,” she said. “Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer and, sadly, Lola’s story will be all too familiar to the one in three people who know someone affected by this devastating disease.”

Brain Tumour Research supports the storyline on BBC News

It was a story that continued to grip fans as they watched Lola and her loved ones receive the devastating news that her tumour is a GBM – a diagnosis carrying with it a bleak prognosis.

Appearing on The One Show, Danielle described the “massive responsibility” of taking on the storyline and how it “means a lot” to be trusted with it.

She added: “With a diagnosis like this, it doesn’t just affect the person, it massively affects the whole family around that person as well. It’s just so important for us to show all the different dynamics with a disease like this.”

During the programme, presenters Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas read out messages from Brain Tumour Research supporters, Kylie Weatherby and Laura Mahon. Having been diagnosed with the same type of tumour, they praised the sensitive handling of Lola’s diagnosis.

Laura’s experience of being diagnosed with a GBM when she was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child was seen by millions across the UK as she shared why it is “so important” that EastEnders is raising awareness of the disease. Her reaction to the story was in The Independent and The Sun, where she said: “It’s sad to watch what is happening to Lola because it’s so close to my story. It all came flooding back when Lola was told she had a brain tumour … Danielle Harold plays the role so well, it’s scarily accurate.”

Laura with husband Danny and daughter Sienna

Kylie’s message to The One Show read: “So far, Lola’s story closely mirrors my own. I’m extremely grateful to see the disease sensitively represented on the TV.”

She also revealed how she messaged Danielle on Instagram to say thank you after watching the emotional scenes: “When you’ve been through it yourself, watching someone else go through it is really emotional … I think she’s doing amazing.”

Kylie with her twin sons Luca and Malena

Meanwhile, Katie Smith – who set up a Fundraising Group called Brainstorm after her diagnosis and has raised £56,000 for Brain Tumour Research – wrote a piece for the Metro, explaining why she is “delighted” at Lola’s diagnosis.

She concluded by urging readers to “please, watch EastEnders, be aware of your own body and – if you’re in a position to – donate to Brain Tumour Research to help me, and other people like me”.

Katie after surgery with her son Eli

As the storyline develops, Brain Tumour Research has been producing a series of ‘EastEnders Explainers’. In these short videos, our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation Dr Karen Noble discusses the science behind Lola’s brain tumour and treatment.

You can watch the short clips on our YouTube channel or on our social media pages.

We’re already looking forward to sharing our November highlights with you. The month is off to a great start with supporters getting involved in our 100 Squats or Star Jumps a Day in November Challenge.

And it’s set to be a busy and exciting time as the One Million Keepy Uppy Challenge for Brain Tumour Research kicks off on Friday 18th November! Join our team and help us celebrate our own special World Cup achievement – register today by clicking here.

We are grateful to all the supporters who work with Brain Tumour Research to help raise awareness of this devastating disease. If you would like to share your story, please contact our dedicated PR team to see how we may be able to help:

Related reading: