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Press release

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years

Bereaved Banstead man urges local community to get their Hats on for Brain Tumour Research!

Bereaved Banstead man urges local community to get their Hats on for Brain Tumour Research!

A Banstead man who lost his wife to a brain tumour is inviting local people to help raise funds for scientists working to find a cure for brain tumours.

Sue Thomas was 57 when she died in December 2015, having been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour which was so deep in her brain that surgery wasn’t possible. Sue underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, but in the end nothing could save her.

Husband, David, 63, commented: “Sue loved life and lived it to the full – she was a wonderful wife and mother, an amazing career woman and a committed Christian, devoted to serving God.”

He continued: “Brain tumours take every bit of you, everything shuts down.  Doctors don’t prepare you for this, probably because they are trying to protect you. The tumour took away Sue’s body and mind and part of her personality.  It affected her whole being.  She couldn’t talk or even express how she was feeling.  In the last few weeks the only way I could tell how Sue was feeling was by looking into her eyes – that was our connection, and how we expressed our love.”

Shocked that there was so little treatment available to Sue and that her survival prognosis following diagnosis was just 12 to 18 months, David along with the couple’s two grown-up daughters Rachael Thomas and Holly Still, along with Holly’s husband Lewis, set up The Song for Sue Foundation under the umbrella of game-changing national charity, Brain Tumour Research.

Incredibly, since losing Sue, the Song for Sue Foundation has raised around £33,000, including an awesome £14,500 from a dinner dance back in November, held at Surrey Downs Golf Club in Kingswood, close to the second anniversary of Sue’s passing.

This year the charitable group are working once again with Brain Tumour Research to support Wear A Hat Day, holding their own event on 24th February at Merland Drive Church in Tadworth, which has raised over £1,000. This was just over a month ahead of the official Wear A Hat Day on 29th March, because the venue was already fully booked during March with other events and activities.

For a £5 entrance fee, The Song for Sue Foundation asked visitors to wear a hat in memory of Sue and all those lost to brain tumours, or to remember patients currently battling with this condition, in return for a range of delicious cakes and a hot drink. There was also a raffle and charity merchandise to buy, including hat pin badges.

David said: “Once again I am so grateful to all Song for Sue’s amazing supporters.

“Less than 20% of patients survive five years. It is so distressing for the families involved and vital that more money is spent on finding a cure for this devastating disease.

“I am hopeful that this year’s event will beat the £1,300 we raised from our Wear A Hat Day at Merland Rise last year and we are appealing to other people within our local community to take part in Wear A Hat Day this year.”

Wear A Hat Day has raised over a million pounds since it was launched by Brain Tumour Research nine years ago and is the culmination of Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March. The big day will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in fun events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life-saving research.

Funds raised through Wear A Hat Day 2018 will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK.

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Among celebrity supporters of this year’s campaign is the businesswoman, model, actress and mum Caprice Bourret who underwent surgery to remove a low-grade brain tumour which was diagnosed nearly a year ago and continues to be monitored by her medical team.

Caprice said: “I have been so touched by Sue and David’s story. It’s incredible to hear about the work David is doing fundraising for Brain Tumour Research in Sue’s memory. It’s just awful that brain tumours affect so many people.

“I am proud to be working with this lovely family and so many others to support Wear A Hat Day. I want everyone to get involved! It’s such a fun event and anyone can take part. Let’s all put our hats on and do something positive to remember Sue and support the fantastic research going on right now. I am determined to try to make a difference for the 16,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour each year.”

To get involved, or donate, please visit:

Or text HAT to 70660 to donate £5*


* Texts cost £5 plus network charge. Brain Tumour Research receives 100% of your donation. Obtain the bill payer’s permission. Call 01908 867200 with any queries.

For more information or to support the Song for Sue Foundation, email or to donate go to


For further information, please contact:
Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 07811 068357


Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We have established a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, over £6 million was raised towards research and support during 2017.

We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The unprecedented success of our 2015 petition led to the 2016 Westminster Hall debate and Brain Tumour Research taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research with the report published in 2018.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • They kill more children than leukaemia
  • They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
  • In the UK 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
  • Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.