Local MP has paved the way for brain tumour campaigners
Rebecca Harris MP has stepped down from her position as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on brain tumours following her recent promotion as Assistant Government Whip.
Rebecca has campaigned on this issue ever since she was first approached by Lisa Green, the mother of Danny, tragically lost to a brain tumour aged just 11 and the inspiration for local charity The Danny Green Fund, a member charity of Brain Tumour Research.
Monday 10th July saw the first meeting of the group as it was relaunched following the snap election. It is expected to herald the next milestone in brain cancer research. The findings of the Government’s year-long Task and Finish Working Group, convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research into brain tumours, are expected in the early Autumn.
The Task and Finish Working Group was established following a “damning” House of Commons Petitions Committee’s report last year, which highlighted that “successive governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades”. Campaigners are hoping that the eventual report from the Task and Finish Working Group will demonstrate that the Government is now prepared to show fresh commitment to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients.
Rebecca Harris said: “Chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours over the past three years has been a great honour. Working closely with members of the brain tumour community, patients, their families and researchers, it has been inspiring to witness their passion and dedication in fighting this devastating disease.
As a Patron myself of the Danny Green Fund, I have come to know parents such as Chris and Lisa Green, families who face the unbearable pain of losing a loved one and yet go onto develop the strength to help fund the fight into finding a cure for brain tumours. I will endeavour to continue championing this excellent cause inside Parliament and out.”
Lisa commented: “Rebecca has been a passionate campaigner ever since the very first time I spoke to her in 2012 about how we lost Danny because there just weren’t effective treatments available, but never more so than since she became chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on brain tumours.
“I would like to convey a huge vote of thanks to Rebecca for the way she has led this group through some challenging, but very exciting times, particularly since the setting up of the Task and Finish Working Group. Having lost our precious son Danny from this devastating disease we are hopeful that Rebecca’s tenure as chair will serve as a springboard towards, not just a greater awareness of brain tumours, but a much more realistic and deserving level of funding for research into this form of cancer, leading ultimately to far better outcomes for patients and hopefully a cure.”
Taking over from Rebecca as new chair, Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives, said: “I am honoured to have the support of the brain tumour community and my colleagues in being elected Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours. It is essential that the UK leads the way in investing in research into brain tumours.
“With the expected release of the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group report on brain tumour research taking place this summer, our All-Party Parliamentary Group will scrutinise the published recommendations and call for action and leadership from the UK Government. A brain tumour diagnosis is as devastating today as it was 20 years ago; this is unacceptable for all the patients and families in our communities.”
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of the charity Brain Tumour Research, has provided the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group since 2005, when she helped Rt Hon John Bercow MP to set it up. Sue said; “The All Party Parliamentary Group on brain tumours was established to tackle decades of underfunding for research. Even now, less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.
“This will be our most optimistic meeting yet. Following dedicated, high-profile campaigning on this issue, we are getting ever closer to increased investment in research. We were very encouraged to see Cancer Research UK announce a new multi-million-pound investment in brain tumour research, to add to the exceptional contribution of the Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence. This could be a game-changing year ahead, offering new hope to brain tumour patients and their families.”
For further information, please contact:
Liz Fussey at Brain Tumour Research on 07811 068357 or email@example.com
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 are building a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, £5.5 million was raised towards research and support during 2016.
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 charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016. Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.
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.