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Press release

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

Simon’s boxing challenge inspired by friend living with a brain tumour

Simon’s boxing challenge inspired by friend living with a brain tumour

A man challenged himself to his first boxing contest, inspired by a close friend who is living with a brain tumour.

Simon Hollis, 34, from Bromsgrove, packed a punch in a white-collar boxing match held at Perdiswell Leisure Centre, Worcester. The competition was the culmination of Simon’s rigorous eight-week training camp, during which he was taught by professional boxers.

Super Simon managed to fit training in around his work as an assistant anaesthetist at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, alongside his duties as a dad to his nine-month-old son. He raised more than £1,300 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Simon was motivated by Katie Smith, a brain tumour patient from Stourbridge. Award-winning author Katie, 33, was diagnosed with an oligoastrocytoma three years ago. Mum to 18-month-old son Eli, Katie lives with the knowledge that she may not be here to see her 40th birthday.

Simon said: “It’s horrible that Katie and her husband Luke, who is my best friend, have to go through this. However, despite going through surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Katie maintains her positive attitude. I also lost my cousin to a brain tumour in September and my wife’s dad passed away from the disease when she was just five years old, so it’s awful to see Katie going through the same thing.

“I was inspired by Katie’s strength and so I challenged myself to take part in the boxing match on Saturday 1 December. I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my fitness after working out for four days a week for the competition and I didn’t touch any alcohol during my training. It was a busy time for me, especially as we only moved house in October, but it was something I was determined to do, and my wife was hugely supportive.

“The fact I know three people affected by this devastating disease just goes to show how indiscriminate brain tumours are; they can affect anyone at any age. I hope my fundraising has raised awareness of brain tumours.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated 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 at Brain Tumour Research in the Midlands, said: “We are extremely grateful for Simon’s support and congratulate him in completing his boxing challenge. I hope people will be touched by Katie’s 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 


For further information, please contact:

Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 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) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis. We are also a key player 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.