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Press release

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

Mummy Squad raises money for Brain Tumour Research after tragedy

Mummy Squad raises money for Brain Tumour Research after tragedy

A young mum whose husband died from a brain tumour was joined by a group of friends to raise funds to help scientists find a cure for the disease.

Together with her pals, Becky Lemons, aged 28, took on the Pretty Muddy 5K challenge at Clumber Park near Worksop on Saturday (30th June). The women, who call themselves “The Mummy Squad”, are hoping to raise £1,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Becky and her husband were teenage sweethearts and had been together for 11 years. Leon was diagnosed with a grade three anaplastic astrocytoma in May 2014. The tumour was inoperable although Leon had chemotherapy and radiotherapy which helped to keep his condition stable. Sadly, in his last few weeks Leon was unable to move from a hospital bed at his home in High Green, Sheffield. He was 38 when he died leaving heartbroken Becky with their two children, Colby, aged three, and Willow, who was just 11 months.

Taking part in the Pretty Muddy challenge alongside Becky were her Mummy Squad friends Lorna Oglesbee, 37, Siobhan Binnion, 29, Kirsty McDougall, 38, Clare Gittins, 32, Emma Seaton, 35, Sarah Green, 30, and Louise Lees, 34. The group, who all live in Sheffield, met at a mother and baby group in January 2015 and struck up a close bond. Sharing memories, going through the mixed emotions of becoming mums, some of them for the first time, and enduring the anxiety and joy of parenthood, the group have been there for each other through thick and thin but never imagined that one of them would become a widower at such a desperately young age.

Becky said: “I am so grateful to the girls for all the support they have given my family after all we have been through. It’s heart-breaking and devastating what this disease can do. In his final weeks, Leon was unable to talk, it robbed him of his mobility, the use of his right arm, leaving me to feed and care for him. It’s such a cruel disease and more needs to be done to find a cure as there are too many people going through this. More money must be invested in research to ensure others don’t suffer as we have.”

Andrea Pankiw, Community Fundraiser for the Brain Tumour Research charity, said: “We are extremely grateful to Becky and The Mummy Squad. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40 yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Stories like Leon’s remind us that brain tumours are indiscriminate, they can affect anyone at any age and that is why we are working to build a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence, where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. We are also influencing the Government and the larger cancer charities to increase research funding for this disease to match the investment for other cancers such as breast and leukaemia.”

You can make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via the Mummy Squad’s JustGiving page.

Photo shows Becky (centre back row) with friends Sarah and Kirsty, (back row l to r) and bottom row l to r, Siobhan, Clare and Lorna.

For further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or Susan@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
  • 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.

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