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Press release

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

Brain tumour diagnosis inspires women’s canal walk challenge - post event

Brain tumour diagnosis inspires women’s canal walk challenge - post event

Two women, whose lives have been changed by brain tumours, came together this weekend to take part in charity canal walk and raised vital funds for Brain Tumour Research.

Holly Dooley, 33, from Camberton Road in Leighton Buzzard, was inspired to raise vital funds for research into the disease after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2013, just a few months after getting married. Holly has already endured five operations and intense radiotherapy to control the growth of the tumour. Though her life has changed she continues to remain positive about fighting the disease.

Holly said: “At the time I was diagnosed, I was a professional dancer. Over the coming months my life changed dramatically and I had to end the career I loved.  

“Research into this disease is really important to me, as brain tumours can affect anyone at any age, but no one knows what causes them. I do see myself as lucky as I was able to have surgery and treatment, unlike so many people out there who are diagnosed that are not as fortunate.”

This is the sixth year the 11-mile walk along the picturesque canal has been held and Saturday’s event saw 88 people and five dogs came together to help raised over £13,000 for the charity with more donations due to come in over the coming days.

Joining Holly on the walk was Francoise Shelton, 58, from Church Lane in Leighton Buzzard, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007 after her daughter found her unconscious. The mum of three immediately underwent invasive surgery to remove the tumour and now uses her experience to fundraise for the charity.

Francoise, said: “It has been 10 years since I was diagnosed and this walk marked a milestone in celebrating the life I have. I’m really enjoyed meeting other people that have had their lives affected by brain tumours, as so many of us have had different experiences with this deadly disease.  I hope our efforts will help raise awareness of the current underfunding for research into brain tumours.”

The Grand Union Canal Walk started at the Three Locks pub in Stoke Hammond, where walkers treated themselves to bacon butties to start the day. The group then walked the 5 ½ miles to the Grove Lock pub, to enjoy a picnic or pub lunch.

At the end of the walk participants were able to enjoy a charity menu at the Three Locks and taste a specially created ale, "Hops for Hope", from The Leighton Buzzard Brewing Company. A percentage of both the menu and ale sales during the month of September will go to Brain Tumour Research.

Paula Rastrick, Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “This is always a popular event for us, and it was lovely to see so many old and new faces. Many of those taking part know only too well the devastation a brain tumour diagnosis causes. There was a strong sense of fellowship and sharing of experiences on the day, which is a very positive thing.

“We really appreciate all those who took part in the walk, as the money raised will go towards research into the cause of brain tumours and improving treatments and, ultimately, finding a cure.”

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Holly’s JustGiving page, go to or you can make a donation via Francoise’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.