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Press release

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

Soldier who survived brain tumour now fighting to find cure

Soldier who survived brain tumour now fighting to find cure

Soldier Steve Blake, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour whilst serving on the frontline, is now battling to help find a cure for the disease.

Sergeant Blake was working in RAF Halton as an army photographer, supplying images to the world’s media, when he was struck down with symptoms including severe headaches. Initially misdiagnosed with a sinus infection and prescribed a variety of antibiotics and decongestants, the tumour was eventually found 18 months later during an MRI scan.

Unbelievably, Steve’s tumour was a meningioma, the same type which his mother, Joan Blake of Long Sutton in Lincolnshire, had been diagnosed with three years earlier. Steve, who lives in Southampton, has had surgery and radiotherapy and both he and his mum are doing well.

Sergeant Steve Blake, 36, from Seaford, outside Brighton, will take part in one of several Walks of Hope organised by the Brain Tumour Research charity. 

Back at work and based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, as an army press officer, Steve said: “I joined the army at 17 and, having served in Afghanistan for a year, have seen the horrors of the front line. People often expect that kind of job to be the toughest, but actually for me it’s the repatriation ceremonies. I have photographed more coffins than I ever thought I would see in my life. Sometimes it was guys I knew or were even friends with. It’s the harsh reality of my profession but it doesn’t get any easier.

“Having been off sick for a few months, I’m really glad to be back working. The army eased me back in gently and it was a great feeling to be back full-time and in the uniform that I had worn for nearly 20 years. Sitting around for months had an effect on my physical fitness and I’m working hard to get back to good health.


“I’m extremely motivated to raise awareness and funds for research into brain tumours, after both me and my mum went through the devastating process of being diagnosed. I hope to help other families going through a similar situation and the Walk of Hope will be a fantastic way to fundraise for this vital cause.” 


Steve, a doting dad to Joseph, 15, will be taking part in our inaugural Walk of Hope in Portsmouth's Southsea waterfront on Saturday 29th September with his wife Rebecca Blake who lives with Steve in Southampton, who he proposed to at a garden party at Buckingham Palace, outside the Queen’s tent!

Walkers can chose between a four or seven-mile route along the Portsmouth seafront. The walkers will stroll down the cobbled streets of Old Portsmouth before heading onto the Southsea Common and South Parade Pier. An exclusive, non-alcoholic ‘Mocktail of Hope’ will be served to all finishers.

Brain Tumour Research funds a network of Centres of Excellence, including one at the University of Portsmouth, where scientists are focused on improving treatment options and, ultimately, finding a cure for brain tumours.

Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful to Steve for supporting Brain Tumour Research. His story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and 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.”

He added: “This will be the first event of its kind that we have done in Portsmouth and many of those taking part know only too well the devastation a brain tumour causes. The Walks of Hope are always a popular event for us, and there is a strong sense of fellowship and sharing an experience, which is a very positive thing. The money raised on the day will go towards research into the causes of brain tumours, improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.”

To find out more about Steve’s story, go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/stories/in-hope/in-hope-stories/steve-blake 

To register for the Portsmouth Walk of Hope or to find out more visit 
https://bit.ly/2AzG16R 

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or annie.slinn@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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