Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years
Grieving mum gets her hat on for Brain Tumour Research to remember lost toddler
The grieving mum of a toddler who died from a brain tumour is urging people to take part in a national fundraising campaign to find a cure for the disease.
Rowena Robbins was just four years old when she died, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem glioma. Two decades after her death, her mum Elaine is working with the national charity Brain Tumour Research to tell her daughter’s story.
Elain and her husband Robert Rust, from Winchester, are supporting this year’s Wear A Hat Day which takes place on Thursday 29th March.
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.
Elaine and Robert were among those thanked by businesswoman, model and brain tumour survivor Caprice Bourret at the official launch of the campaign on Saturday 3rd March – the day before what would have been Rowena’s 24th birthday.
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 Rowena’s story. 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’m proud to be working with Elaine 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 to remember Rowena and support the fantastic research going on right now. I’m determined to try to make a difference for the 16,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour each year.”
Elaine said: “It is only now, 20 years later, that I am able to talk about what happened to Rowena. It is shocking to learn that there is still no cure and that 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.
“I have finally found the words to tell Rowena’s story in the hope it will help others. We must find a cure for this disease which has torn my family apart, leaving a crevice which cannot be filled and those of us who remain with a legacy of despair. It is so desperately sad that Rowena didn’t get the chance to grow up”
Other high-profile names supporting Wear A Hat Day 2018 alongside Caprice 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.
Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age. What’s more, they 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: www.wearahatday.org
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:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or Susan@braintumourresearch.org
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 being published in 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
- Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
- Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing