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

Five brain tumour deaths inspire 100-mile cycle challenge

Five brain tumour deaths inspire 100-mile cycle challenge

A woman from Poole who lost five loved ones to brain tumours has completed Prudential RideLondon to raise money for research into the disease.

Sarah Hopkins, 52, completed the 100-mile sportive in support of the Brain Tumour Research charity which raises funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours – the disease that killed Sarah’s dad and four friends.

Sarah, who works as an employability assistant at Bournemouth University, first witnessed the devastation of brain tumours when her dad, Geoff Hopkins, died six months after being diagnosed with the disease. Recently retired from his job as a sales manager in the Middle East, 61-year-old Geoff had his retirement cut short when he received the news in January 2001. 

Brain tumours also claimed the lives of Sarah’s friends from the volleyball community. Angela Cowell, a former England international player and manager of England and GB Senior Women teams, died at Rowans Hospice in February 2017. Angela was diagnosed with two tumours and despite two operations, she died aged 53.

Three of Sarah’s friends have been killed by the most aggressive type of brain tumour: a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Linda Insley, who Sarah knew from the Speedwell Volleyball Club in Bristol, was aged 55 when she was diagnosed and the mum-of-two died just 11 months after her diagnosis. Ivor Paul, who was an integral part of Speedwell men’s team, national champions on numerous occasions, also died following a GBM diagnosis at 61; and Curtis Palmer, a policeman from Poole, who was diagnosed with a GBM and died aged only 28.

Sarah said: “I was so nervous ahead of RideLondon but I’m thrilled to have done it. Raising money for research into brain tumours means so much to me and I’m proud to have completed the event in memory of my friends and my dear Dad. The event was 17 years to the day Dad passed, which made it all the more emotional for me. I’ve fundraised over £1,400 so far and I hope to be able to add to my total in the coming days.”

Sarah was among 24 cyclists supporting the Brain Tumour Research charity at Prudential RideLondon, described as “the world’s greatest festival of cycling.” Some 25,000 took to the roads for the RideLondon 100-mile sportive which set off from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London on Sunday 29th July before heading through the capital and out into the Surrey countryside and finishing on The Mall.

Emma Cronin, Community Fundraising Manager for the Brain Tumour Research charity, said: “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 devasting disease. 

“For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. The deaths of Geoff, Linda, Curtis, Angela and Ivor remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are extremely grateful to Sarah and congratulate her on completing the event.”

To make a donation to the Brain Tumour Research charity via Sarah’s JustGiving page, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-hopkins9  


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

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