Seven-year-old launches Christmas appeal for Brain Tumour Research
A year ago, seven-year-old Phoebe Vines made a very poignant Christmas wish – she asked for her mum not to die.
Six months later, she learned that wishes don’t always come true. Phoebe is now is facing her first Christmas without mum, Becky, who lost her life to a brain tumour.
Brave Phoebe, from Tetford, Lincolnshire, is the face of this year’s Christmas appeal for Brain Tumour Research. The pioneering charity is seeking donations to fund research to improve treatments for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure for brain tumours.
Her mum Becky was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a highly aggressive brain tumour at the age of 23. She defied the odds by giving birth to “miracle baby” Phoebe and outlived her bleak 12-month prognosis, living for nine years.
The young mum underwent surgery three times and endured many months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She passed away in June at the age of 31 at the home she and Phoebe shared with her parents Claire and Steve.
Phoebe has already raised nearly £3,000 for Brain Tumour Research in memory of her mum and is encouraging others to follow her example by making a text donation to fund vital work at a network of Centres of Excellence.
The Christmas campaign appeal, which is launched today, 4th December, features her handwritten message “Dear mummy, I miss you so much this Christmas. Love you forever, Phoebe” and will be seen on London Underground trains across the entire tube network this December.
Phoebe’s grandma Claire said: “It is a sad fact that brain tumours 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.”
The schoolgirl is asking people to make a text donation to fund vital work at a network of Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence.
Claire added: “Phoebe had always known she was going to lose her mum and now we are her moma and popa. Becky’s tumour was stable for six years but its presence was always there, casting a shadow, and it was as if we were living on a knife-edge.
“Although she was stable for a while, by October last year it was looking as if Becky had just weeks left. We chose to celebrate Christmas early explaining to Phoebe that it would probably be mummy’s last. They visited Santa in his grotto and Phoebe made a wish for two things: a Shopkins toy and for her mum not to die. It was just so sad.
“This year, we face our first Christmas without her. Becky was an inspiration and she always managed to be so positive throughout everything. Phoebe is a delightful child, so strong and so much like her mum.
“Phoebe knows everything there is to know about brain tumours to the extent that, unprompted, she stood up and gave a talk to her class at school. She told them there was no cure for brain tumours because there wasn’t enough money to pay scientists to find one. We are extraordinarily proud of Phoebe and her fundraising and I know Becky would be too.”
Phoebe said: “I am seven years old and my mummy died of a brain tumour in June. I really miss her. She wanted me to be happy and I want to make her proud of me.”
Carol Robertson, Head of Community Fundraising for Brain Tumour Research in Lincolnshire, said: “Claire, Phoebe and their family are such an inspiration with their commitment to supporting our cause, particularly so soon after their loss. Sadly, Becky’s story is far from unique – brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer. We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia.”
To support the Brain Tumour Research Christmas appeal text HOPE to 70144 to donate £5 or visit www.braintumourresearch.org
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 focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We are building a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, £5.5 million was raised towards research and support during 2016.
We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016. Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.
Key statistics on brain tumours:
- Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
- They kill more children than leukaemia
- They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
- They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
- Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
- In the UK 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
- Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
- Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.
Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.