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Press release

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

“Worth a tri!” – brain tumour survivor’s triathlon success

“Worth a tri!” – brain tumour survivor’s  triathlon success

A brain tumour patient has taken on a triathlon challenge to help scientists searching for a cure.

Vanessa Fewell, from Chiddingstone Causeway, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and, while undergoing chemotherapy, tragically lost a close friend to the same disease. She made a splash at the Hever Castle Triathlon and, together with Chiddingstone chums Kate Grantham, Toni Young and Adrienne Bentley, raised £2,800 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

After suffering from mild symptoms of pressure in her head, Vanessa was diagnosed with a grade 2 astrocytoma in February 2016, when, at the time, her three children Ella, Harry, and Sophia were all under the age of 12. She had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to remove the tumour and has recovered well from her treatment.

Vanessa’s diagnosis came just five months after her close friend and neighbour, Ali Smith, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma – a highly aggressive type of tumour. Ali, a beautician from Chiddingstone Causeway, had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but passed away just 15 months later, aged 48, in January 2017. She left her husband Adam and two children.

Vanessa said: “I was devastated when Ali passed away, as were all her friends. Her funeral took place the week I began my chemotherapy and it was heart-breaking. She was the most kind, generous and caring person, with a great sense of fun and she is really missed."

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; 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.

Vanessa is also a keen supporter and advocate of Brain Tumour Research’s Member Charity, Astro Brain Tumour Fund, which funds low-grade glioma research projects and offers support to the low-grade brain tumour community.

She added: “It was a fantastic atmosphere at the event and a great way to pay tribute to Ali and other brain tumour patients. Though I’m aching all over, I was so proud to have smashed my target and I’ve been inspired to take on other challenges for this vital cause.”

The Hever Castle Triathlon challengers set-off with an open-water swim in the Hever Castle lake, before heading off on a run and bike ride around the castle’s spectacular castle grounds, in the scenic Kent countryside.

Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer and stories like Ali’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. Sadly, less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.

“We are extremely grateful for Vanessa’s support and congratulate her and the team for completing the triathlon. The money raised will help us in our mission to build a network of experts in sustainable research. We are funding dedicated UK Centres of Excellence, where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.”

To sponsor Vanessa, please go to https://bit.ly/2NwqGZV 

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research 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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