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Press release

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

Schoolgirl launches Christmas appeal for Brain Tumour Research

Schoolgirl launches Christmas appeal for  Brain Tumour Research

A schoolgirl who is living with a brain tumour has launched a Christmas appeal to help find a cure for the disease.

Determined Katie Milliken is hoping to raise £5,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity by sharing her story of hope over the festive period.

Just a toddler when her devastated family were told she had an inoperable brain tumour, Katie is now 11 and has endured years of operations, chemotherapy and other invasive treatments, as well as countless hospital visits. Just recently she suffered a major seizure but, despite this setback, she is looking forward to Christmas at home in Clarkstown, East Renfrewshire, with sister Charlotte, aged eight, and parents Louise and Ken.

Louise said: “Katie has continued to amaze us all with her courage and positive outlook. She’s a real chatterbox and thinks nothing of standing up in a room full of strangers and telling them about her disease. She’s so outgoing and manages to win everyone over with her personality.”

Sadly, the future for Katie is far from clear. Her tumour, a low-grade juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, is deep in the middle of her brain which makes it inoperable. The treatments have left Katie with irreversible changes such as poor co-ordination and balance, she can no longer run properly and has had to learn to write with her left hand. Yet, while her life is far from that of a typical 11-year-old, Katie still manages to attend school almost full-time and her chatty nature rubs off on all who get to know her.

“I would do anything I could to make my daughter better but the sad truth is that there is no cure. Our only hope is that there will be a breakthrough in research which will lead to better treatments and, ultimately, a cure,” said Louise.

“Life is so fragile and it is just tragic to think that we are not alone – 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year and the disease kills 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.”

Joe Woollcott, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are so grateful to Katie for helping to launch our Christmas fundraising appeal in Scotland. Katie is such a wonderful little girl and you can’t help but be touched by her warm personality. I really hope that people will get behind her and give what they can this Christmas time. Together we will find a cure.”

To make a donation to Katie’s appeal please go to


For further information, please contact:
Anna Berankova at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867242 or 07511 206624 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.