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

Family and friends of tragic schoolgirl Holly get their hats on for Brain Tumour Research

Mar 6, 2018

The grieving mum of a schoolgirl who died from a brain tumour has helped to launch a national fundraising campaign to help find a cure for the disease.

Holly Atkins Fooks was just 11 when she died six months ago, two years after being diagnosed with a highly aggressive brain tumour for which there is no cure. She endured two operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and her family was devastated when, despite the treatment, her brain tumour grew back leaving her disabled and bed-bound in her final weeks.

Despite her grief, Holly’s mum Clare Fooks, aged 43, from St Albans, is determined to help other families affected by the devastation of a brain tumour diagnosis. She is working with the national charity Brain Tumour Research  to support this year’s Wear A Hat Day which takes place on Thursday 29th March.

Along with Holly’s best friend Millie Edwards, aged 12, Clare travelled to Milton Keynes to meet businesswoman, model and brain tumour survivor Caprice Bourret at the charity’s HQ for the official launch of the campaign on Saturday 3rd March.

Caprice underwent surgery to remove a low-grade brain tumour which was diagnosed a year ago and continues to be monitored by her medical team. Launching Wear A Hat Day 2018, she said: “I have been so touched by Holly’s story. It is a sad fact that brain tumours affect so many people and that this devastating disease is indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age – I never even used to get headaches before I was diagnosed.

“I’m proud to be working with Clare and Holly’s friends 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. Let’s all put our hats on and do something positive to remember Holly and 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.”

Clare said: “Holly died in September 2017 after a courageous battle with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), one of the most aggressive types of brain tumour. Her happy, carefree days were numbered and, sadly, she has become another statistic. This horrible disease kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.

“The treatments have not progressed in many years and Holly endured surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is impossible to explain the effect the news that the doctors could only try to extend her life for as long as possible, there was no cure and the end result would be the same. Holly knew she had a brain tumour event before the surgery but we chose not to share the prognosis. Why tell a 10-year-old child she was going to die? It would serve no purpose. We, here family including her 20-year-old brother Bradley, and her friends, had to bear the agony.”

Millie and Holly were friends since the age of three and were inseparable for much of their lives and her mum Karen, who also attended the launch event, has been supporting Clare and her family throughout.

Other high-profile names supporting Wear A Hat Day 2018 alongside Caprice are television, radio and stage performer, Debbie McGee, who lost husband Paul Daniels to a brain tumour in 2016 and actor and author Sheila Hancock CBE, whose grandson survived a childhood brain tumour. Specsavers will be supporting Wear A Hat Day 2018 as an official sponsor for the first time.

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.

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Funds raised through Wear A Hat Day 2018 will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK.

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 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.