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Press release

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

Middleton couple meet scientists as fundraising mission continues

Middleton couple meet scientists as fundraising mission continues

A young Middleton couple who are on a mission to fund the fight against brain tumours have met with scientists researching a cure for the disease.

Neil Taylor, a 33-year-old brain tumour patient, and his wife Alex, met scientists at the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Research Centre of Excellence at Imperial College London. Their visit comes following the launch of Neil’s Appeal, their Fundraising Group under the umbrella of Brain Tumour Research.

Neil, who works as a franchise supervisor at McDonalds was first taken ill in late December 2016. Recently married and looking forward to the birth of their first child, Neil and Alex were told the devastating news that Neil had a grade 3 astrocytoma. He underwent surgery and treatment and the couple soon after set out to fundraise towards research into the disease. 

On Thursday 6 December, Neil and Alex were given a tour of the research facility at Hammersmith Hospital and heard from lead scientist Dr Nelofer Syed about the work taking place there. They met Kevin O’Neill, a leading neuro-surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital who told them about how the research work was being translated into new surgical tools, such as the iKnife, which can differentiate between tumour and normal brain cells during surgery.

Neil said: “It was an honour to meet scientists who are working so hard to improve outcomes for patients like myself. Research is our only hope but historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. We can’t allow this situation to continue.”

In recognition of the £12,085 they have raised to date, Neil and Alex placed tiles on the Wall of Hope at Imperial College where each tile represents the £2,740 it costs to fund a day of research. With the help of their supporters – known as #TaylorsWarriors – Neil and Alex have raised the money through various events including a charity head shave, a Manchester to Blackpool cycle challenge and, most recently, a launch event at Lock 91 in Manchester.

Alex added: “We’re so touched by how much everyone is supporting Neil’s Appeal. To have raised the profile of Neil’s Appeal on our launch night and be joined by many more #TaylorsWarriors was fantastic and I hope we continue this way as we plan more and more events. We want these warriors to organise events of their own, to help us create a strong community and raise awareness of brain tumours. Touring the lab at Imperial College reminded us why we need to keep going.”

Andrea Pankiw, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Neil’s Appeal as a Fundraising Group and we’re extremely grateful for the support of Neil, Alex and #TaylorsWarriors. It’s incredible that Neil is so determined to fundraise, despite everything he has been through. I hope his story will inspire others to raise money towards improved treatments and, ultimately, a cure.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated 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 Neil’s Appeal, go to:


For further information, please contact:
Farel James 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 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 a key player 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.