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Press release

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

Colleague’s memory lives on at Research Centre of Excellence

Colleague’s memory lives on at Research Centre of Excellence

A much-loved colleague and sister lost to a brain tumour has been remembered at a Research Centre of Excellence.

Sheryl O’Connor was a cleaner at Couch Perry & Wilkes, an engineering company based in Solihull, Birmingham. Having worked at the company for more than 12 years, Sheryl, from Hall Green, was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4) – a highly aggressive type of tumour. She passed away just two years after her diagnosis, in March 2018, aged 57.

Sheryl worked alongside her sister Jayne Gibbons, who has teamed up with her colleagues at Couch Perry & Wilkes to fundraise for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

From organising cake sales, to taking part in the charity’s annual Wear A Hat Day, staff members have rallied together to fundraise for the cause. Recently, Simon Seaton-Smith, a Director at the company, took on an ambitious 450km bike ride though Vietnam and onto Cambodia, raising money for Challenge Cancer and donated £5,000 specifically for the Brain Tumor Research. Overall, the generous group has raised so far £8,000 and continue to campaign.

To celebrate their achievements, Jayne placed a tile on a Wall of Hope at the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) with her husband Paul, on Wednesday 7th November. The tile represents the £2,740 it costs to fund a day of research.

Jayne said: “While it was absolutely devastating to lose Sheryl, I found a crucial support network with my colleagues and friends at Couch Perry & Wilkes. Working at the company is like being part of a big family, so Sheryl’s death affected so many of us. Over the past year, it’s been humbling to see employees from different areas of the business team up and help raise money for this charity and placing the tile was a fantastic celebration of our fundraising efforts.

“We want to try to help others that are diagnosed with this devastating disease and I’m sure Sheryl would be proud of our achievements.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at Research Centres of Excellence in the UK, including its centre at QMUL. It also campaigns 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. The charity is 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.

Carrie Bater, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful for the support of Jayne and her colleagues at Couch Perry & Wilkes and we hope they inspire other employees and the people of Birmingham to group together and fundraise for this vital cause. Sheryl’s story reminds us that less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. We cannot allow this situation to continue.”

To donate to the Brain Tumour Research charity go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/donation

 

For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or annie.slinn@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, 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.

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