Mum’s Christmas wish to find a cure for brain tumours
A mum who has undergone extensive surgery and treatment for a life-limiting brain tumour has launched a Christmas appeal to help find a cure for the disease.
Award-winning children’s author Katie Smith is looking forward to a family Christmas with husband Luke and their 18-month-old son Eli. Time is particularly precious for them as Katie’s future is far from certain. The 33-year-old lives with the knowledge that she may not be here to see her 40th birthday.
She is sharing her story in order to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and her wish this Christmas is to raise £5,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
Katie, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, said: “It’s impossible to explain to someone what it’s like to be a mum and know you’re not going to be around when your baby grows up. But I am determined to be here for as long as I can and I want everyone to know how dreadful this disease is.
“It was unimaginable to be diagnosed at the age of 30 as, to me, a brain tumour was synonymous with a death sentence. I’d just come back from my honeymoon with Luke and we had visions of a happy and long life together. But now my goals are to be among the 20% of people who live for more than five years after a brain tumour diagnosis.
“I want to raise awareness of this devastating disease by launching a Christmas appeal and I hope to inspire people to donate to this vital cause over the festive period. It is such a dire situation to think that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”
Katie was diagnosed with a grade 2 oligoastrocytoma in 2016 after suffering from debilitating headaches. She has since endured surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy only to be told her tumour is now high-grade. When she was first diagnosed, she set about writing a children’s book and was elated to be 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 the charity.
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at 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 for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful to Katie for helping to launch our Christmas fundraising appeal in the Midlands. Katie is a remarkable woman – a much-loved teacher, author and mum – and her diagnosis truly shows how indiscriminate brain tumours are; they can affect anyone at any age. I hope people will be touched by her story and give what they can to help this Christmas time. Together we will find a cure.”
To help make Katie’s Christmas wish come true please go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/our-christmas-wish/katie-smith
For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or Annie.Slinn@Braintumourresearch.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 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.