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Press release

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

Family’s fundraising to help find a cure for brain tumours

Family’s fundraising to help find a cure for brain tumours

A Knaresborough woman who died from a brain tumour aged 24 has been commemorated by her sisters at a lab where scientists are researching a cure for the disease.

Melissa and Rebecca Foulis attended the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Centre of Excellence after raising over £3,500 in memory of their sister, Alexandra.

At the age of 22, Alexandra began experiencing weakness on the right-hand side of her face, which was thought to be Bell’s palsy. Soon after, however, she was diagnosed with a grade 3 astrocytoma brain tumour and underwent nine months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Despite the intensive treatment, Alexandra sadly died in August 2011, less than two years after her diagnosis and aged only 24.

Following her death, her sisters Rebecca and Melissa have been committed to helping to raise awareness and funds for research into the disease and they have founded Fundraising Group, Alexandra’s Angels, in her memory. Brain tumours 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.

On Thursday 6th September, the women were invited by Brain Tumour Research to visit the research centre at Imperial College in London to see how money raised contributes towards vital research. The centre, one of four receiving funding from the charity, is focused on improving treatments for brain tumour patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. Alexandra’s Angels also had the opportunity to place a tile on the Wall of Hope where each tile represents the £2,740 it costs to fund a day of research.

Melissa, also from Knaresborough, said: “It was such a special experience visiting the research centre and meeting the scientists who are dedicated to finding a cure for brain tumours. After seeing all the important work that’s happening, we’re even more proud to be fundraising in Alexandra’s name. Without these research centres, more and more families will have to suffer the devastation that ours did.”

Matthew Price, Community Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful to Melissa, Rebecca and everyone at Alexandra’s Angels for supporting research at our Centre of Excellence. We are really pleased they have been to see the research taking place at Imperial College, and had the opportunity to place tiles on the Wall of Hope. Stories like Alexandra’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research, go to


For further information, please contact:
Farel James at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867221 or 07592 502708 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
  • 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.