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Press release

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

Great-great-grandmother’s legacy lives on at University of Plymouth

Great-great-grandmother’s legacy lives on at University of Plymouth

A great-great-grandmother has been honoured at the University of Plymouth, in celebration of her family’s fundraising achievements.

The relatives of Claire Airzee, a much-loved 84-year-old, were joined by the former Mayor of Exmouth as they met scientists searching for a brain tumour cure. Claire, from Plymouth, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – a highly aggressive type of brain tumour – in November 2017, after suffering a seizure. She died just four months later, aged 84.

Since losing her mum, Amanda Longbottom, of Exmouth, has been fundraising for the Brain Tumour Research charity – from rallying support in Withycombe Raleigh, with a cake and coffee morning, to donning her favourite fedora for the charity’s annual Wear A Hat Day.

To celebrate her efforts, Amanda and her husband Brian placed a tile on the university’s Wall of Hope. The tile represents the £2,740 it costs to fund a day of research and will ensure Claire’s legacy lives on in the city where she was born. Amanda’s brother Byron Airzee also attended the event on Wednesday 14 November.

Amanda said: “When Mum was diagnosed, it turned her life upside down and inside out and trying to help her cope with this had a devastating impact on our lives too. Having witnessed the devastating impact of a brain tumour, I was determined to help make a difference to others in a similar situation. Fundraising has given me a real sense of purpose over the past year and I was proud to see Mum’s name on the Wall of Hope.”

Joining the family was former Mayor Brian Cole who selected Brain Tumour Research as his Mayoral Charity of the year. He said: “During my second term of office, I nominated Brian Tumour Research as my Mayoral Charity. I was truly grateful to Amanda and her family, alongside the businesses and residents of Exmouth, for joining me to support the charity and it was fantastic to help raise awareness of brain tumours in the community.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at Research Centres of Excellence in the UK, including that at the University of Plymouth. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

Amy White, Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely thankful for the ongoing support of Amanda and her family. Claire’s story reminds us that less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. We cannot allow this situation to continue.”

To donate to Brain Tumour Research, go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/donation

 

For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or annie.slinn@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
  • Historically, 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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