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Press release

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

Gemma gets her hat on for Brain Tumour Research!

Gemma gets her hat on for Brain Tumour Research!

A wife and mother who was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour has helped to launch a national fundraising campaign to find a cure for the disease.

Gemma Edgar, aged 32, from Colchester and a paediatric nurse at Colchester General until she was forced to take very early retirement due to ill health, 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 her husband, Rob, and parents Andy and Barbara Relf, also from Colchester, Gemma met businesswoman, model and brain tumour survivor, Caprice Bourret at the charity’s HQ in Milton Keynes to launch the campaign on Saturday 3rd March.

Gemma, mother to Dylan, five and Noah, three, was 29 in 2014 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour, just eight weeks after giving birth to Noah. She underwent surgery to remove as much of the aggressive and incurable grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4), followed by six weeks of radiotherapy. the size of an tangerine on her 13th wedding anniversary.

Gemma, who has also had to cope with the fact that Noah has undergone surgery and treatment for eye cancer, commented: “I won’t ever be able to say I’m in remission and, in fact, I had to have further surgery back last November when the GBM4 reoccurred. I am now on chemotherapy and feeling positive. I could just hide myself away under the duvet, but I don’t want my boys to have bad memories of Mummy crying all the time.”

 “I cannot stand by without doing all I can to change the chronic underfunding into brain tumour research. As a family, we are committed to helping fund vital research taking place at a network of Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence.”

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 Gemma’s story and the incredible work she is doing fundraising for Brain Tumour Research. 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 am proud to be working with Gemma and her family 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 for Gemma, and support the fantastic research going on right now. I am determined to try to make a difference for the 16,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour each year.”

Gemma said: “We are dedicated to continuing to raise awareness of brain tumours and are really proud of what we have achieved so far. We have had such wonderful support from people in and around Colchester and I hope they will once again join us by getting involved in Wear A Hat Day.”

Other high profile names supporting Wear A Hat Day 2018 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 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:
Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 07811 068357 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 published in February 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
  • 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.

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