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

Giant Charity Boot Camp inspired by Colchester’s Gemma

Jan 22, 2019

More than 100 people turned out for a gruelling charity boot camp in memory of a much-loved Colchester mum-of-two who passed away just before Christmas.

Gemma Edgar who died on 19 December aged 33 was in the hearts and minds of the 102 participants of a boot camp put through their paces on Saturday 19 January in the grounds of Friar’s Grove Primary School – the school that both of Gemma’s sons attend.

The fundraiser for the Brain Tumour Research charity has raised more than £2,000 to-date, with further donations still coming in.

Mum-of-two Kirstie Enefer, 43, of St John’s, Colchester, had the idea for the event (which she gave the tag #doingitforgemmaedgar) just two and a half months ago, while Gemma was being cared for in St Helena’s hospice. Kirstie first got to know Gemma when her younger son Jamie, seven, started in the same reception class as Dylan, six, (Gemma’s eldest son) at Friar’s Grove and they became firm friends.

Kirstie, who works as a marketing assistant at Essex Business School at the University of Essex, said: “A huge vote of thanks to everybody who took part and supported the Giant Charity Boot Camp. I had to do something – it’s so shocking that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. We cannot allow this to continue.

“I had such an incredible response when I put out the idea of a boot camp inspired by Gemma. Huge thanks to all of the instructors who donated their time and energy: Chris Allan (who went to the Gilberd School with Gemma’s husband Rob), Liam Clayton, Kelly Goody and Elliot Chapman. They were fabulous and literally leapt at the chance to get involved in return for cake and bananas!

“Thanks to my fabulous friend Karen Cameron who works at Friar’s Grove for all her amazing help in organising the boot camp. I couldn’t have done it without Karen and the instructors.”

“Grateful thanks to all our lovely volunteers and all the kind folk who made loads of amazing cakes and to Tesco Highwoods who donated bananas for all the boot campers to give them an extra bit of energy! We raised over £400 just in generous donations for cakes and teas and coffees, with one person paying an awesome £20 for two cupcakes!”

Kirstie concluded: “I’m very proud of everybody who helped to make the event so successful and to all who came along. I’m sure Gemma would be too.”

Gemma’s mum Barb said: “The sense of loss felt by the whole family is beyond words. We take some comfort that our beautiful daughter was blessed in having so many wonderful friends and supporters who will keep her memory alive.”

Dad Andy said: “We are very grateful to Kirstie and everyone who supported or attended the boot camp. Gemma would have been very proud.”

Paula Rastrick, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the Central region, said: “For too long brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. We are so grateful to Kirstie for organising the boot camp inspired by Gemma and to all who got involved to raise such an amazing sum.”

Money raised for Brain Tumour Research helps fund dedicated UK Research Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours and the charity is lobbying the government and the larger cancer charities to increase this.

It’s not too late to add your donation. To donate to Brain Tumour Research, go to

Running Colchester held a charity quiz which raised more than £1,100 in memory of Gemma at St John’s Community Centre on Saturday 19 January to be split between Running Colchester, Brain Tumour Research and St Helena’s Hospice.


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 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) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis. We are also a key player 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.