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Press release

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

Soldier takes on Jurassic challenge to helpcombat brain tumours

Soldier takes on Jurassic challenge to helpcombat brain tumours

A soldier who was diagnosed with a brain tumour is taking on a mammoth trek to help find a cure for the disease.

Having served in the army for nearly 20 years, Sergeant Steve Blake is now embarking on a rather different challenge, by hiking 25km around Dorset’s stunning Jurassic coastline.

Steve, 37, who lives in Southampton, will join some 2,000 adventurers for the challenge, as he attempts to raise hundreds of pounds for the Brain Tumour Research charity. The event will take place on 8 June 2019, two years on from his brain tumour diagnosis.

Unbelievably, Steve’s tumour was the same type his mum had been treated for three years earlier, a meningioma. His diagnosis came after suffering from severe headaches while working as an army photographer at RAF Halton. Steve endured three operations and radiotherapy, and now both he and his mum, Joan Blake, of Lincolnshire, are doing well.

Inspired by his experience and in a bid to help other patients, Steve, who works as an army photographer based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, will take on the fundraising walk with his close friend Ash Bennette, 47, of Southampton.

Steve, dad to 15-year-old son Joseph, said: “Coming to terms with my illness was really tough, especially after seeing my mum go through her brain tumour diagnosis. It was a year of ups and downs for me, not least because I got married just a couple of weeks after my final operation. Becky’s support has been invaluable throughout the difficult times.

“I’m feeling very fortunate to be back at work and in a job that I love. It was important for me to regain a sense of normality after such a turbulent couple of years. The army eased me back in gently and it was a great feeling to be back full-time, working alongside my supportive colleagues.

“I’m really looking forward to completing the Jurassic Coast Challenge, for a charity very close to my heart. It will be the second time I’ve fundraised for Brain Tumour Research, after I participated in a sponsored Walk of Hope last September. I hope that taking part in these fundraising events inspires others to raise money for this vital cause.”

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.

Tim Green, senior community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the South East, said: “We are extremely grateful for Steve’s ongoing support and we hope that he inspires people to donate to this important cause. Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Steve’s JustGiving page go to


For further information, please contact:

Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867221 or 07592 502708 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.