Together we will find a cure Donate
Together we will find a cure Donate

Press release

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

Children get their hats on for starring role inBrain Tumour Research campaign

Children get their hats on for starring role inBrain Tumour Research campaign

Children of all ages are getting their hats on to help find a cure for a devastating disease which has touched their lives.

The stars of this year’s Wear A Hat Day campaign for the Brain Tumour Research charity have all either been bereaved by a brain tumour, are living with a brain tumour or have a close family member who has been diagnosed.

The kids, aged one to 13, are donning their best headwear from beanies to cowboy hats, trilbies to Panamas, baseball caps to novelty headpieces, and are asking others to join them for Wear A Hat Day 2019, the UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event. This year, it takes place on Friday 29 March and is expected to smash all records as it marks its 10th year.

Among the children featured in the charity’s marketing campaign are Myah Bell, aged four, from Gloucester, who underwent surgery at 10 and a half months; Solihull brother and sister Rafaele and Siena Guglia, seven and six, whose grandad died from a brain tumour; Peebles siblings Chloe and Oscar, 11 and eight, whose dad Matt Lowther died aged 38; and 13-year-old twins George and Jasmine from Cowbridge who lost their dad Hugh Walker.

Helping to promote Wear A Hat Day in London are South Woodford siblings Layla, six, and Daniel, four, who lost their dad David Hetherington to the disease; Myla Hall from Southgate whose dad’s friend died from a brain tumour in 2015; and Charlton sisters Rebecca, Gabriella and Sophia whose sister Isabella Coomber passed away when she was just five years old

Children from the North West and North East are also taking part in the campaign: one-year-old Annabelle Taylor whose dad Neil was diagnosed in 2017 will raise awareness in Greater Manchester; and Charlie and Jess Leatherbarrow, aged nine and six from Liverpool, are taking part in memory of their dad, David Leatherbarrow.  

The children of brain tumour survivors can also be seen in the charity’s marketing campaign: Maria Pata from Buckingham was diagnosed in 2010 and her children Gaizka, 11, and Endika, six, are taking part, as are Charlie and Phoebe Giddings, 11 and eight, the children of Halifax patient Charlotte, and four-year-old Reuben Wood, from Eastbourne, whose dad Graham was diagnosed in 2014.

Wear A Hat Day also has the backing of supermodel, businesswoman and brain tumour survivor Caprice who underwent surgery to remove a meningioma brain tumour two years ago. A patron of Brain Tumour Research, Caprice plays a key role in raising awareness of the disease and campaigning for the government and the larger cancer charities to increase national investment in research. Also supporting this year’s fundraiser is Strictly Come Dancing finalist Debbie McGee who lost her superstar magician husband Paul Daniels to the disease three years ago.

Corporate supporters already signed up for the fundraiser include Specsavers, Hobbycraft, and Venture Photography – the latter worked with families across the UK who have been affected by brain tumours to create the portraits used in the campaign.

Also taking part will be hundreds of schools, workplaces, and individuals who will don their hat of choice and hold a whole host of hat-themed fundraising events in support of Brain Tumour Research.

Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “I know that people will be both distressed and inspired to hear the stories of those who are helping us to launch Wear A Hat Day 2019. All of these families, like my own, know the pain of a brain tumour diagnosis.

“We are entirely committed to easing this pain by improving treatment options for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. 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.

“The sad truth is that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age and this means the impact on families is enormous. Too many children are losing siblings, parents and grandparents, too many parents are enduring the agony of their child’s diagnosis, and society as a whole continues to bear the burden of increased costs through the NHS, lost taxes, and demands on the benefits system.”

Wear A Hat Day has raised over a million pounds since it was launched by Brain Tumour Research ten 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 will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

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 further information, please contact:

Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or

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 ground-breaking research 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) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis. We are also a strategic programme lead on the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, exploring the financial impact of brain tumours.

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.