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Press release

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

Losing friend to brain tumour inspires mum’s Great South Run challenge

Losing friend to brain tumour inspires mum’s Great South Run challenge

A mum of two from Bridgwater, who lost her friend to a brain tumour, is taking on the Great South Run to raise funds for research into the disease.

Katy Drabble, 36, will take on the challenge in memory of John Heath, also from Bridgwater, who died from an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in April this year, just three weeks after diagnosis at the age of 87.

Thousands of runners are expected to take part in the ten-mile run on Sunday 22nd October 2017. Participants will be able to take in the iconic sights of Southsea and Portsmouth, including the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of HMS Victory, the Spinnaker Tower and finishing on the seafront to take in beautiful views of the Isle of Wight.

Katy will be part of a 28-strong team who are raising money for the pioneering charity Brain Tumour Research, which funds a network of Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving treatments for patients and finding a cure. Each day of research costs £2,740.

Katy said: “When John was diagnosed with his tumour I immediately signed up to take part in the Great South Run as it really hit home about the vital research that needs to be carried out if we are to find a cure for this awful disease. 

“I’ve never run ten miles before, so this will be quite a challenge for me. I was able to let John know I was taking part in the race before he died, so I hope that he will be looking over me on the day and helping to get me over the finish line”

Tim Green, Community Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age, at any time. For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. Stories like John’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.

We wish Katy and all our runners good luck for the race. The money raised from the event will help to fund the work at our four Centres of Excellence, including our flagship centre at the University of Portsmouth. This is where world-leading research into the causes of brain tumours and improving treatments is taking place.

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Katy’s JustGiving page, go to


For further information, please contact:
Lexie Dabney at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867222 or 07591 206545 or


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 are building a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, £5.5 million was raised towards research and support during 2016.

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 charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016. Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.

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
  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age
  • 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.