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Press release

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

Marathon challenge inspired by double brain tumour loss

Jan 31, 2019

A Surrey woman who lost both a relative and a friend to brain tumours is taking on a marathon challenge to help find a cure for the disease.

Walton-on-Thames resident Joanna Davis, 32, is already in training to complete the London Marathon – the world’s most famous running event. She hopes to raise £3,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity and awareness of the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40.

Joanna’s life was first touched by the disease when she lost her grandmother, Madeleine Martin, of Walton-on-Thames, fifteen years ago. A brain tumour also claimed the life of Joanna’s school friend, Carlos Nunes, who she studied with at Salesian School in Chertsey.

Joanna, who works in recruitment, said: “I’ve seen first-hand how devastating a brain tumour diagnosis can be and I hope that, by signing up to run the marathon, I inspire others to fundraise for this vital cause. I completed the Paris marathon last year and now I’m hoping to smash my personal best and raise as much as I can. I will be thinking of my nan and Carlos every step of the way.”

While in training, Joanna set up her own running club in the local community, ‘5k Wednesday’. Now in its third week, the group is attended by up to 30 runners of all ages and abilities.

She added: “I first got into running a couple of years ago in an attempt to lose a few pounds and since then I’ve been hooked.”

Joanna will join tens of thousands of runners pounding the streets of the capital at Virgin Money London Marathon, on Sunday 28 April 2019.

Tim Green, senior community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research in the South East, said: “Joanna’s enthusiasm to fundraise and raise awareness of brain tumours is fantastic and we are extremely grateful for her support. We wish her the best of luck at the marathon and hope she inspires others to help us fund the fight against brain tumours.

“Sadly, Madeleine and Carlos’ stories aren’t uncommon and 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 desperate situation to continue.”

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.

To donate to Joanna’s JustGiving page go to


For further information, please contact:

Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867221 or 07592 502708 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). 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, 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.