Just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease
The diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating, however there is hope. We have been fortunate to meet some very brave people who have survived to tell the tale and who want to share their story to give hope to others.
Recently published stories
Former BBC correspondent and chair of BBC Children in Need, Rosie Millard, first realised something was wrong at the beginning of 2018, when she developed tinnitus in one of her ears. Doctors initially thought the ringing sound she was hearing was caused by a build-up of ear wax. Unsatisfied with the diagnosis, Rosie demanded an MRI scan, which revealed a large, low-grade tumour in her front lobe. As she is still coming to terms with her shock diagnosis and the surgery that followed, Rosie, a mother-of-four, is also feeling grateful that she has recovered well and is fighting fit – even going on to complete a marathon since her treatment finished.Read more
Eight-year-old Kyle Morrison was diagnosed with the least survivable of all childhood brain tumours six months ago. His devastated mum was given the nightmare news that he had a year to live. Now, half way through that “death sentence” she is desperately trying to raise the money needed for a clinical trial which she believes is their only hope.Read more
The youngest of four children (big brother Jordan is 16, Lillie, eight, and Sienna, five) Esmé, now three, was diagnosed with a rare high-grade form of ependymoma whilst still just one year old. GPs had previously diagnosed a sickness bug or urinary tract infection. Esmé underwent major surgery and is currently nearing the end of a gruelling 18 months on chemotherapy.Read more
Beverley had always been healthy and active until she suddenly started having excruciating headaches and vomiting. She was eventually diagnosed with a low-grade haemangioblastoma and underwent surgery which, happily, was successful in removing the tumour. Now, 10 years on, she feels it is as if the experience never happened.
“I am so thankful I was lucky enough to have the type of brain tumour I had, but I am very conscious that the prognosis for the vast majority of brain tumour patients is not nearly so rosy. I am sharing my story to help raise awareness because I know that much more research needs to happen to find a cure.”Read more
Bob shared his story with us in September 2016. Sadly, he passed away on 25th June 2019. We will remember Bob as we continue our work to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research to help find a cure. He will be forever in our hearts.
A successful double bass player, Bob Picken has been a member of Liverpool band Ella Guru, as well as a backing for artists such as Neville Skelly, She Drew The Gun, Bill Ryder-Jones and Marvin Powell.
Diagnosed in 2012 with an anaplastic astrocytoma, whom he affectionately calls “Bieber” in reference to the Canadian singer Justin, Bob has managed to overcome a number of setbacks to carry on with his career, and in his own words “stick two fingers up to cancer”.
“You go through five stages of cancer: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and eventually acceptance.”
Yardley schoolboy Bobby Humphries was two years old when he was diagnosed with a large brain tumour. He underwent life-threatening surgery and chemotherapy when just a toddler. Sadly, Bobby’s tumour recurred and he had to go through another 18 months of chemotherapy. Now six, Bobby, a keen Birmingham City Football Club fan, has recently started the new school year and his parents Georgina and Aaron are taking each day as it comes.Read more
Bradley was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour at the age of three and underwent radiotherapy. Apart from headaches, his life continued as normal until he was 18 and had to be flown home by air ambulance while on holiday for a surgical procedure to help relieve pressure building up in his head. Then at the age of 23, following a massive seizure, he had a 10-hour operation to attempt to remove the ‘inoperable’ brain tumour. Miraculously, the neuro-surgeons succeeded in removing 95% of the tumour. In the years since his surgery, Bradley has worked hard on his rehabilitaton and now, aged 29, can walk almost perfectly, although he is waiting to have Botox to help regain movement in his right hand.
“My neuro-consultant was becoming very concerned, but he still didn’t want to take the risk of trying to remove the tumour, due to its dangerous position and the risks of life-changing consequences. However, one day I had a massive seizure and the doctors were unable to bring me round. The pressure had built up to a dangerously high level which meant there was no option than to operate to relieve the pressure as quickly as possible. I had the emergency procedure and was taken to the High Dependency Unit and put into a coma. Meanwhile, my parents were told that it was now imperative to attempt to remove the ‘inoperable’ tumour once the pressure in my head had been reduced and I had returned to a stable condition.”Read more
After suffering a seizure at his home in Milton Keynes, 54-year-old Brian Carrick underwent surgery to remove a grade two oligodendroglioma, which had been growing unnoticed for at least 10 years. Brian feels tremendously lucky it was discovered at a point where he could benefit from new research and before it became cancerous. Brian is currently undergoing a six-week course of radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy to try and remove a small amount of tumour that was left after surgery.
“I dread to think what could have happened if Emma hadn’t been home that day, or if I was driving at the time of the seizure. I’m very lucky that I’m here and able to tell my story, unlike so many others that have been struck by such a devastating disease like cancer.”Read more
Soldier Cameron Ray agreed to his brain surgery being filmed for a BBC documentary because he wanted to raise awareness of the disease and to help reassure others who were coping with the same diagnosis. He hopes to get back to full fitness, complete his training as a medic and resume his career serving his country in the British Army.Read more
Carly Beasley had landed her dream job and had recently married her childhood sweetheart, Kris, when she had her first seizure. Following a series of tests and scans, she was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in October 2017 and had surgery to remove the tumour three months later. Having made a remarkably quick recovery from the operation, Carly is now back at work and determined to use her experience to help others.
“With anything that people go through, not just brain tumours, you go through a mix of emotions. I have had anxiety about my illness and have gone through the inevitable ups-and-downs, but there are many positives I can take from my situation. At least my tumour is low-grade. At least I made a full recovery.”Read more
When Carol Hayes was sent to A&E in February 2018, she expected the worst and sadly her fear became reality. It was a brain tumour that had been causing her constant headaches and affecting her vision. The 56-year-old is still trying to come to the terms with her diagnosis but she remains positive as she undergoes six months of chemotherapy.“Shortly after, my worst fears were confirmed: I had a brain tumour. It was like a truck had hit me in the chest but somehow the news just didn’t sink in… Nothing can prepare you to hear that, and even though I’d been worried I had a brain tumour, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.” Read more
Mum-of-three Catherine Wilcockson had not been feeling herself for the past two years and was mistakenly prescribed anti-depressants to treat her symptoms. After a couple of episodes of ‘blacking out’ and then a massive seizure in May 2019, it was finally discovered that she had a brain tumour. The 36-year-old from Sheffield has undergone an awake craniotomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and, remarkably, feels like her diagnosis has given her a new lease of life.Read more
Catrin IrelandNumber 13 definitely turned out to be unlucky for me – I was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour on our 13th wedding anniversary. Surgery left me with vision and balance issues – I feel very dizzy walking any distance and suffer with extreme fatigue which means I regularly find myself needing to sleep during the day. Obviously, I had to give up my driving licence. I now get around on a mobility scooter which isn’t what I ever imagined I would be doing aged 41 as I am now.
“It seemed completely surreal when I heard the words ‘brain tumour’ as that thought hadn’t even entered my head. I found myself pacing the corridors of the hospital, crying and swearing (which isn’t like me), while my husband kept trying to hug me. The date was the 23rd May – a day I will always remember because we should have been celebrating our 13th Wedding Anniversary!” Read more