Double Olympic Swimmer dives into research at the University of Portsmouth
An Olympic swimmer whose sister was diagnosed with a brain tumour has met with scientists at the University of Portsmouth who are working to find a cure for the disease.
Katy Sexton MBE, who represented Great Britain in the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games, attended a tour of the university’s Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence with her sister, Kelly Lee, on Friday 14 December. They met with researchers who are focused on the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain tumour development, and the identification of new drug targets for devising new therapies.
After the tour, the sisters placed a tile on the university’s Wall of Hope, which represents the £2,740 it costs to fund a day of research and acknowledges Katy’s fundraising achievements.
By organising a series of swimathons, Katy raised £2,780 for the
Brain Tumour Research charity’s national Swim for Hope campaign, which ran throughout October 2018. Katy passed the baton onto as many as 130 pupils, at Mill Rythe School in Hayling island, and Barncroft Primary School in Havant, who swam as far as they could against the clock.
Waterlooville resident Kelly, 40, was diagnosed with a brain tumour 10 years ago. She had surgery to remove the tumour on her pituitary gland, but still takes medication and requires regular MRI scans.
Katy, who received an MBE for her services to swimming, said: “Attending the lab tour with Kelly was a fascinating experience and it opened my eyes to the incredible research that is taking place in Portsmouth. The team were very welcoming and they explained to me their dedicated research, which will no doubt instil a great deal of hope in brain tumour patients and their families.
“I was proud to place a tile on the Wall of Hope and, as I did, I reflected on both my sister’s illness and the success of the swimathons. I was thrilled to see so many of my pupils taking part and I hope that they’ve been inspired to fundraise and do something sporty for charity for many years to come.”
Tim Green, senior community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research in the South East added: “Katy’s ongoing support has been invaluable and I was honoured to join her in acknowledging her achievements at the university. Kelly’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease, and we are proud to be changing this.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated 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.
To donate to the Brain Tumour Research charity go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/donation
For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867221 or 07592 502708 or firstname.lastname@example.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, 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.