Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years
Cancer patient “inconvenienced” by brain tumour gets her hat on to help find a cure – and meets model and fellow survivor Caprice
Brain tumour blogger Sarah Gaffney-Lang was proud of being a “baldy” during her cancer treatment and says the hair loss associated with chemotherapy saved hundreds of pounds on styling products.
Diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 29, she describes herself as “inconvenienced” by the disease and offers advice on how to “style up” aids such as zimmer frames and walking sticks which she has relied on since unsuccessful surgery.
Upbeat Sarah, 31, a health service manager from Manchester, will undergo her twelfth, and what she hopes will be her final, cycle of chemotherapy this month (March) having been diagnosed with a grade two diffuse astrocytoma brain tumour after a tonic clonic seizure rendered her unconscious during a day at York races in September 2016.
Surgery aimed at removing 95% of the tumour was unsuccessful and complications left her unable to walk. Physiotherapy and determination have helped to improve her mobility but the tumour is now deemed inoperable as another operation would leave her permanently paralysed.
Now Sarah is backing a national fundraising campaign to help find a cure for the disease and is working with the national charity Brain Tumour Research to support Wear A Hat Day which takes place on Thursday 29th March. She is supported by her husband Matt Lang, commercial director at Altrincham-based FK Group where colleagues have already raised £30,000 for the charity.
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.
Sarah, who writes about “life, style and being inconvenienced by a brain tumour” on her blog zimmazimmathreecoursewinner.com, said: “I lost my hair during radiotherapy and was proud of my baldness, reckoning I saved around £50 a month on hairstyling and products. I think it is a shame that women going through the same thing feel they have to conform and cover their hair loss. I just wish people would do what they felt most comfortable with without having to worry about others.
“My diagnosis means I have gained a real perspective on life – what matters and what really doesn’t! I know how much I am truly loved and have been able to tell others how I really feel. I am proud of my own strength during this process and feel proud of everything I have ‘got through’ so far – surgery, chemo, radiotherapy, learning to walk again. All whilst wearing my red lippy which always gives me a boost.”
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 a year ago and continues to be monitored by her medical team.
Caprice said: “I have been so touched by Sarah’s story. It’s just amazing that brain tumours affect so many people. This devastating disease is indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age.
“I’m proud to be working with this sassy and stylish young woman 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. Inspired by Sarah, let’s all put our hats on and do something positive to support the fantastic research going on right now. I’m 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: www.wearahatday.org
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 further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or Susan@braintumourresearch.org
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 being 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
- 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.