Bereaved man supports research into disease that claimed partner’s life
A bereaved man from Colchester was at Imperial College London yesterday to honour his partner who died earlier this year from a brain tumour.
Phil Holding, 51, met with scientists at the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Research Centre of Excellence in memory of Debbie Coulson who died from an aggressive and incurable form of the disease.
Debbie was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2017, aged 57. She underwent surgery as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, but nothing could save her.
Phil, managing director of Horizon Construction in Colchester, where Debbie also worked as a personal assistant, said: “It was such a shock to learn that there was no cure for Debbie’s glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour and that she had a survival prognosis counted in months, not years.
“Another blow was learning how underfunded research into brain tumours is. Along with members of Debbie’s family and colleagues from Horizon Construction, I am looking into doing a big fundraising challenge next year for Brain Tumour Research.”
On Thursday 6 December, in recognition of his future fundraising, Phil was given a tour of the research facility at Hammersmith Hospital and heard from lead scientist Dr Nelofer Syed about the work taking place there. He also met Kevin O’Neill, a leading neuro-surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital who told them about how the research work was being translated into new surgical tools, such as the iKnife, which can differentiate between tumour and normal brain cells during surgery.
Also in attendance were Debbie’s brother Paul and sister, Amanda Simpson.
Paula Rastrick, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the central region, said: “We are extremely grateful to Phil for helping to raise awareness about the research taking place at our dedicated Centres of Excellence. It’s fitting that he should meet with scientists at Imperial College and see how Horizon Construction’s fundraising can support research in Debbie’s memory.
“In addition to funding sustainable research at our centres, we are also campaigning for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. We’re calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.”
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. Brain Tumour Research is proud to be changing this. To make a donation, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/donation
For further information, please contact:
Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 07811 068357 or Liz@braintumourresearch.org
Notes to Editors
Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.
We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.
We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.
We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the basic research groundwork needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.
The Brain Tumour Research charity 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). We are supporting the crucial APPGBT 2018 Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours and will publish their report in the autumn. We are also a key influencer in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.
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 45 than prostate cancer
- Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
- Less than 20% 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.