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Press release

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

“Superhero” brother inspires sister’s ninth marathon to help find brain tumour cure

“Superhero” brother inspires sister’s ninth marathon to help find brain tumour cure

A bereaved sister who lost her only sibling to a brain tumour is taking on her ELEVENTH marathon to fund research to help find a cure for the disease.

With every step she takes along the 26 mile route of the Virgin Money London Marathon, Melanie Wilkinson will be remembering her beloved brother Ryan Taylor, from Nottingham, who was just 26 when he died, having endured gruelling surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Since losing her brother in March 2017, Melanie, 30, has tirelessly fundraised for the Brain Tumour Research charity by completing a series of running challenges, raising an incredible £14,500.

She has tackled 10 marathons, which included two gruelling 56km and 90km ultramarathons, and a half Ironman triathlon. Dubbed ‘The Tumournator’ by family and friends, Melanie will take on the Virgin Money London Marathon in April.

Melanie, a hair and makeup artist in Dubai, will be running with her mother-in-law Michelle Wilkinson, who also lives in Dubai, and tens of thousands of runners pounding the streets of the capital, at the world’s most famous running event, on Sunday 28 April 2019.

Melanie said: “My first ever running challenge for Brain Tumour Research was a half marathon in 2014 and since that moment I’ve been hooked. The fundraising really inspired Ryan and as the donations rolled in it helped to boost his mood.

“I then pushed myself to complete my first marathon in 2015 and when Ryan died, running became my saviour. I’m very proud of all that I’ve achieved and training has helped me through the inevitable dark days. Although Ryan is no longer here in person, he will always be a superhero in my eyes and my world will never be the same without him in it.”

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.

Melanie added: “I’m very much looking forward to the London Marathon and will be cheered on by my mum and aunty on the day. I would like to urge people who may have been touched by this devastating disease to donate to Brain Tumour Research.”

Carrie Bater, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the Midlands, said: “We are very grateful for Melanie’s ongoing support and wish her the very best of luck at the marathon. If you have been inspired to join Melanie on the day, there are a number of places are still available on the Brain Tumour Research marathon team.”

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.

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Melanie’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.