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Press release

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

Police officer inspires Fundraising Group to find a cure for neglected cancer

Police officer inspires Fundraising Group to find a cure for neglected cancer

A man who found himself homeless at the age of 16 and was taken in by a local police officer and his wife and treated as one of their own has been inspired to set up a fundraising group under the umbrella of the Brain Tumour Research charity to help find a cure for brain tumours.

Jim Murray, 51, of Bridgwater has served with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary for nearly 20 years. He was diagnosed just after Christmas last year with an aggressive and incurable brain tumour and was told that his survival prognosis was 12 to 18 months.

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer… yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Earlier this year, spurred on by the shock of Jim’s diagnosis, Wayne Byles, 35, began to organise a Canoeing for a Cure fundraising challenge to help raise vital funds for research into this neglected cancer.

The British Army sergeant from Bridgwater is now launching a fundraising group under the same name, assisted by friends and members of Jim’s family, including Jim’s wife Allyson and their three sons, Richard, Callum and Simon.

Even before launching as an official charitable group, more than £6,000 has already been raised by the Canoeing for a Cure team conducting events such as auctions, raffles, cake-sales and bag-packing in Morrisons, as well as donations from local businesses and through JustGiving. Wayne and the team are hoping that the canoeing challenge day will raise enough to sponsor at least two days of research – the equivalent of £5,480 (£2,740 per day).

Wayne said: “Jim has always been a father figure to me ever since he helped me turn my life around and inspired me to join the Forces. It has been such a shock to me and all of Jim’s family to hear that there is so little that can be done for him and that there is no cure.

“Canoeing for a Cure will be focusing our initial efforts on a feat of impressive strength and endurance with a timed challenge due to take place on Saturday, 8th September. A team of six with two canoes will paddle a total of 29 miles along the Bridgewater and Taunton Canal and walk 14.5 miles, carrying the canoes each weighing 35.8kg.

“We are appealing to the community to join in and help make a difference by taking part in the Bridgewater and Taunton Canal Walk of Hope – a beautiful 12-mile stroll to be held on the same day starting at 10am, to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Research charity in Jim’s honour. The registration fee is just £10 per individual or £20 per family (two adults and up to four children under 18).

“Going forward, we will challenge other teams to try and beat the time we set on 8th September. I have already laid down the gauntlet and am pleased to announce that C&S Fitness of Bridgwater will be contesting our time, whilst also raising funds for Canoeing for a Cure and the Brain Tumour Research charity.

“I am also proud and very grateful to say we have received our first grant of £200 from the Somerset Community Fund.”


Emma Cronin, Community Fundraising Manager for the Brain Tumour Research charity, said: “We really appreciate Wayne’s support and are proud to welcome Canoeing for a Cure to our Brain Tumour Research family. We wish Wayne, Jim’s sons Callum and Richard Murray and Wayne’s brother James Kerr, as well as Lee Hooper and Steve Young the very best in their canoeing challenge.

“The money raised by this new fundraising group, inspired by Jim, will help us in our mission to build a network of experts in sustainable research. We are funding dedicated UK Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

“For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. Sadly, less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.”


To register for the Bridgewater and Taunton Canal Walk of Hope go to: www.braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/take-on-a-challenge

To make a donation to Canoeing for a Cure and the Brain Tumour Research charity go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/canoeingforacure



For further information, please contact:
Liz Fussey at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 07811 068357 or liz@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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