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

Double Olympian’s fundraiser goes swimmingly for Brain Tumour Research

Double Olympian’s fundraiser goes swimmingly for Brain Tumour Research

An Olympic swimmer has inspired more than a hundred children to make a splash to help fund a cure for brain tumours.

Katy Sexton MBE, who represented Great Britain in the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games, encouraged children to follow in her footsteps and take part in a swimathon. Passing the baton to her budding pupils at Mill Rythe school, Hayling island, and Barncroft Primary School, Havant, she organised the event as part of the Brain Tumour Research charity’s national Swim for Hope campaign.

Taking place over three days, children aged up to 12, of different abilities, went to great lengths to swim as far as they could with Katy Sexton Sport and Fitness. As many as 130 keen swimmers showed off their best front crawl and butterfly stroke in the challenge, which concluded on Saturday 20th October.

Katy, who received an MBE for her services to swimming, said: “I’m super proud of all those involved in the swimathon. Having taught the kids for a number of years, they all amazed me with their ability and enthusiasm, and it was great to get them fundraising for such a worthy cause. It was fantastic to see so many pupils taking part and I’ve been told that they all slept very well afterwards.”

Swim for Hope runs throughout October, and Brain Tumour Research is calling on people of all ages and abilities to take on a swimming challenge and to donate to the cause. Katy has a personal motivation for backing the campaign after her sister, Kelly Lee, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Kelly, who lives in Waterlooville, was newly-wed and just 29 when she was diagnosed with a tumour on her pituitary gland. Her tumour was successfully removed by surgery but Kelly, aged 39, still takes medication and requires regular MRI scans.

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at Research Centres of Excellence in the UK, including its centre at the University of Portsmouth; 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.

Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Katy Sexton Sport and Fitness and thank her for organising the charity swimathon. Swim for Hope takes place across the UK during the month of October and it’s an event that many of us can get involved in, whether it’s challenging yourself to a personal best in the pool or wearing fancy dress while you swim.”

To find out more visit


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