Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years
“I want my little boy to be proud of me and to live in a world where no-one dies of brain tumours anymore” Mum’s mission to find cure as she undergoes further chemo
A young mum living with a life-limiting brain tumour is dedicating 2019 to help find a cure for the disease.
Katie Smith, 33, of Stourbridge, lives with incurable brain cancer and has been told she may not live to see her 40th birthday. Despite the devastating news, Katie and her husband Luke have pledged to dedicate a year of their precious time to raising awareness of the disease and to raising funds to help find a cure.
The award-winning author and mum to 20-month-old son Eli is about to undergo her fifth round of chemotherapy. She has already endured two operations and radiotherapy which has left her with permanent hair loss.
Despite her difficult prognosis and ongoing treatment, Katie and her husband Luke have set up Brainstorm, a Fundraising Group under the umbrella of the Brain Tumour Research charity. They have set themselves an ambitious target of raising £90,000 and already have a variety of events planned including a celebrity hat auction and a snowboard challenge.
Katie, a former teacher at Wyre Forest School, said: “When I heard the words brain tumour, it was terrifying. For me, it was synonymous with a death sentence and my whole world was turned upside down. It truly hit home when I found out I might not make it to 40.”
When Katie and Luke married in 2015, there were no signs that Katie was living with a brain tumour. Not long after returning from their honeymoon, however, Katie began experiencing severe headaches which eventually lead to her diagnosis with an oligoastrocytoma later that year.
In 2016, Katie was chosen as the winner of a writing competition on Lorraine Kelly’s ITV show which saw the publication of her story, The Pumpkin Project. All royalties from book sales are going to Brain Tumour Research.
Katie added: “As hard as it is, I try to be positive. Fundraising for Brain Tumour Research and setting up Brainstorm has given me a great deal of purpose and helped me to come to terms with my diagnosis. We’ve already got a whole range of exciting events in the diary.
“Having taken part in Brain Tumour Research’s Wear A Hat Day last year, we were also inspired to hold a signed celebrity hat auction. We have some fantastic famous faces on board, including Sir Chris Hoy, Cillian Murphy and Nick Owen, and hope to get many more. Our friends and family members have been incredibly supportive and one of my close friends is even taking on the London Marathon for the cause.”
Alongside their fundraising plans, Katie and Luke are also resolute in raising awareness of brain tumours, which have historically received just 1% of the national spend on cancer research.
Katie explained: “I want everyone to know just how devastating a brain tumour diagnosis can be and yet how little has been spent on research into this awful disease. I have a personal blog where I talk about my experience and Luke and I have also been vlogging. We’re even going to start a podcast. We’re doing all we can to help raise awareness.
“Although I am a dreamer, I’m realistic enough to know that I’ll be long gone before any progress is made significant enough to save my life. But I do want to help others and, more than anything, I want my little boy to grow up to be proud of his mummy. I want him to know that I have done all I can for this vital cause and I want him to live in a world where no-one dies of brain tumours anymore.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. 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.
Carrie Bater, community fundraising manager in the Midlands, said: “Katie is incredible and her drive to support this important cause is inspiring. We’re very grateful for all she is doing particularly when her life is so busy and time so precious.
“Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”
To donate to Brainstorm go to https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/brainstorming
For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867221 or 07592 502708 or firstname.lastname@example.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 ground-breaking research 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 represented on the Steering Group 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.