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Press release

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

“The World’s Local Walk” to remember husband and father lost to brain tumour

“The World’s Local Walk” to remember husband and father lost to brain tumour

The wife and children of a banker who was lost to a brain tumour will lead a charity walk in London this weekend.

Shaz Hetherington, Layla, aged five, and Daniel, three, will lead nearly 100 friends, relatives, and colleagues of David Hetherington who died at the age of 39 last November.

The Walk4David40 event will take place on Sunday 6th August, which would have been his 40th birthday, and will start from the HSBC tower in Canary Wharf where the couple worked for the bank.

The event with 5k and 10k routes, is raising money for the charity Brain Tumour Research which funds a network of Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on finding a cure and improving outcomes for patients. The charity is also campaigning to see the national spend on brain tumour research increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia, in order to advance treatments, and ultimately find a cure.

Walkers will also take part in a number of “virtual” events in locations as diverse as Carlisle, where David’s parents John and Judith are based, and the Greek island of Kos where his brother John is on holiday. There will also be Walk4David40 events in Bulgaria, Whitstable, and in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, where former team members from the bank now live.

Shaz, 40, from Woodford Green, said: “David was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour when I was 31 weeks pregnant with our first child. When our second baby was just eight weeks old, his tumour had changed to a cancerous and aggressive glioblastoma.

“David fought so bravely and never once complained about what he was going through. It broke my heart to have to explain to the children what they should do if he had a seizure. When it became clear that David wouldn’t be around to see the children grow up, he started to write emails to them offering advice which I hope they take comfort from reading when they are older.

“David became increasingly unwell and underwent gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. He also took part in immunotherapy trials but I’m not sure if that bought us any more time.

“When David was dying and it became clear nothing more could be done, I was told to take him home and care for him there. Although he was terminally ill, at 39 David was too young for a nursing home and, ironically, not close enough to death for a hospice.”

Fortunately Shaz was able to secure a bed in a nursing home in a neighbouring borough where David and his family were cared for during the final three weeks of his life.

Shaz added: “I know that the walk will be a very emotional occasion but it is so important to us that we mark what would have been David’s 40th birthday and to celebrate his life. We are calling it ‘the world’s local walk’ as people will be taking part in such a variety of locations.

“It is shocking to learn that brain tumours kill more children and adults who, like him, are 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.”

Sunday’s event will also see the family releasing 40 balloons in London and Carlisle with birthday wishes for David.

Janice Wright, Community Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research in London, said: “For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer. Stories like David’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are extremely grateful to David’s family, friends and colleagues at HSBC for helping us to shine a light on the underfunding for research into brain tumours.”

To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research in memory of David go to


For further information, please contact:
Susan Castle-Smith at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867206 or 07887 241639 or

Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We are building a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, £5.5 million was raised towards research and support during 2016.

We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016. Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • They kill more children than leukaemia
  • They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
  • In the UK 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
  • Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.

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