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Press release

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

Swansea University goes hatty for Brain Tumour Research

Swansea University goes hatty for Brain Tumour Research

A student who lost both his father and granddad to brain tumours has inspired his university to take part in a charity event to help find a cure for the disease.

Students at Swansea University’s medical school have signed up to take part in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Wear A Hat Day, the UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event.

Undergraduates and their tutors will flood the campus with a sea of hats, from beanies to cowboy hats, trilbies to Panamas, baseball caps to novelty headpieces. They are participating in the fundraiser, which takes place on Friday 29 March, in support of fellow student Christopher Grey, from Swansea.

Christopher was 11 years old when his dad Jeffrey Grey, of Swansea, was diagnosed with a brain tumour on Valentine’s Day in 2012. Despite enduring chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Jeffrey died just eight months later, aged 54, leaving his partner Catherine, his three children and his stepdaughter. Tragically, Christopher’s granddad, Wyndham Grey, also died of a brain tumour in November 2010.

Christopher, now 18, has been a tireless fundraiser for the charity over the years and has raised more than £5,000 for Brain Tumour Research with numerous events, such as a fancy-dress evening, and a sponsored climb of Pen y Fan. He has also campaigned in order to raise awareness of the disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Applied medical sciences student Christopher said: “I’m so grateful to everyone at the university for supporting me and I hope we get the whole campus involved with Wear A Hat Day. It’s amazing to think just how much we could raise if everyone brings in even a small donation and I would like to encourage other businesses, schools and universities to take part too.

“Losing my dad and grandad to this devastating disease when I was so young was heart-breaking, and I’m motivated to raise as much as I can for Brain Tumour Research. I’ve really enjoyed fundraising over the years and, alongside Wear A Hat Day, I also plan to complete a sponsored trek up Snowdon in September.

Christopher added: “I was inspired to study applied medical sciences at university because of my experience with brain tumours. I’m really interested in learning about cancer and the mechanisms behind the disease and, as I particularly enjoy being in the lab, I’m considering a career in medical research.”

Carrie Bater, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research in the Midlands and Wales, said: “It’s touching that the students and staff at Swansea University are so committed to fundraising to support Christopher.

“Sadly, Jeffrey and Wyndham’s stories are not uncommon. Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years. We cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are thankful for Christopher’s ongoing support and we hope that he inspires others to take part in Wear A Hat Day.”

Wear A Hat Day has raised over a million pounds since Brain Tumour Research was launched 10 years ago and is the culmination of Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March. The big day will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in fun events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life-saving research.

Funds raised will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK where scientists are focused in improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

To donate to Christopher’s JustGiving page, go to:

To get involved with Wear A Hat Day, please visit:

Or text HAT to 70660 to donate £5*


* Texts cost £5 plus network charge. Brain Tumour Research receives 100% of your donation. Obtain the bill payer’s permission. Call 01908 867200 with any queries.


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). 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
  • 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.