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
Lord Stuart Polak CBE
Stuart Polak had been married to Charlotte for two years and they were expecting their first child when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and given just six months to live. Fortunately, the high-risk surgery he underwent was successful. Nearly 30 years later, on his maiden speech in the House of Lords in 2015, Lord Polak made light of the permanent one-sided hearing loss which, along with partial facial paralysis, was a result of the operation which saved his life. He is working with Brain Tumour Research to share his story to raise awareness of the disease and bring pressure for increased investment to help find a cure.Read more
Having ruled out meningitis as the cause of his headaches and vomiting, 10-year-old Charlie, who has a twin sister, was scanned. A mass was discovered which turned out to be a craniopharyngioma brain tumour. He underwent surgery and proton beam therapy and is now on hormone replacement medication and hoping he won’t need further surgery or treatment.Read more
Mum-of-one Emma Selby, from County Durham, has been diagnosed with three brain tumours. Her first diagnosis came in 2017, when doctors discovered an inoperable glioma on her brainstem. Emma had radiotherapy but sadly, in December 2019, she got the dreaded news that a second glioma had been found close to the first. She had further radiotherapy but devastatingly, a third tumour, this time an astrocytoma, was picked up following a scan in June 2020. She has since had chemotherapy and surgery. Emma’s family are fundraising to pay for private cancer treatment, as they say their options on the NHS are running out.Read more
Darcy was 21 months old when she was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour, but her mother had to fight to get medics to listen. She was still undergoing chemotherapy when her mother, Debbie was diagnosed with incurable cancer.
“Less than a year after Darcyana was diagnosed with a brain tumour, I found a lump in my breast…. I underwent a bone marrow biopsy which revealed that I had secondary breast cancer which had already spread to my bones. I didn’t think lightning could strike twice.”Read more
David has undergone surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy since being diagosed with a grade three anaplastic oligodendroglioma in July 2017. His tumour has caused a large social and economic burden as well as the psychological difficulties to not knowing what the future for him, his wife and their son, will bring.“It is difficult to convey just how much our lives have been changed by my diagnosis. I haven’t been given a prognosis as such, perhaps the doctors are scared to tell me. No-one knows how long I have had the tumour and, just now, I don’t know if I’ll be here for another four or five years or whether I’ve got as little as two months. It’s ironic to think that prior to my diagnosis I had stopped drinking, I’ve never smoked and have always been fit. It is hard to understand how this could happen to someone like me and not knowing what the future will bring is by far the hardest thing.” Read more
Mechanic Debs Clarke suffered years of crippling back pain prior to being diagnosed with a grade two hemangiopericytoma (HPC) brain tumour in February 2017 at the age of 43. Despite being house bound and coming to terms with maybe not returning to the job she loved, her strong faith has allowed her to remain positive and thankful for every day. Though her tumour is rare, she has been told there is a small chance her sisters could carry the genes, and is now focused on ensuring her sisters are tested for the disease.
“When a nurse looked at me funny after having my CT, I had a bad feeling about the results as she looked really worried. I called my best friend Mel panicking and said “I have a brain tumour”, to which she told me to stop being silly, as it was “likely to be nothing serious as brain tumours are really rare”. My suspicions were confirmed when the doctor called me the following Monday.”
Kent-based radio producer Duncan Wallace, originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is happily married with two young children, a great circle of friends and a successful and exciting career in the music industry. But life was turned upside down for Duncan in April 2019 when he was diagnosed with an inoperable, high-grade brain tumour. Having undergone a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Duncan remains positive in spite of his prognosis and recently completed the Great North Run, raising an incredible £22,000 for Brain Tumour Research.Read more
When Elaine Lee-Tubby, 47, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, she was taken back to the dark days of losing her dad to the disease just three years before. Now, 20 months on from her own diagnosis, she is determined to prove that living with a low-grade meningioma doesn’t stop her from leading a happy life. Having married her childhood sweetheart Shawn last August, she’s looking forward to a relaxed Christmas with her husband and their four daughters, Emma, 31, Carla, 26, Symone, 22, and Leah, 13, and will soon take on a festive fundraising frenzy for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
“Shawn was my tower of strength. After 33 years of being together and having spent two years planning our wedding, nothing was going to stop us getting married; not even a brain tumour. The day itself was beautiful and everything I could have dreamed of. It was such a positive occasion in light of a negative couple of years. I didn’t think about my tumour at all.”Read more
Originally diagnosed with a neurological condition which causes extreme fatigue, Elisha was told she had a brain tumour after she blacked out at the wheel of her car. With no treatment available and with an uncertain future, the 24-year-old carer is hoping to become a fashion model and to use her role as Miss Norfolk to raise awareness of the disease.
“I feel as if I have a heavy weight on my shoulders and I have gone through many different emotions. To begin with, I was angry that I had been told such devastating news yet there was no treatment. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better not to know and not to have to live with the constant anxiety and worry that every little ache or pain, every headache, might mean the tumour is growing.”Read more
A happy, intelligent and friendly child, Elizabeth was one of four children. She was just 12 when she was diagnosed with a tumour on her pituitary gland. The life-saving surgery and complications which followed left her irreparably damaged and she remained in hospital for nearly two years. Now aged 30, Elizabeth has spent most of her adult life in care.
“After Elizabeth’s surgery, we remained hopeful but realistic about her condition. We have never given up on her and, over the years, we have somehow found a way to carry on. While the pain becomes easier to bear I now have increasing worries about what will happen in say five or 10 years’ time. What if I am no longer around to ensure Elizabeth gets the care she needs?
We do our best to enjoy her better days. When Elizabeth is well she has a lovely sense of humour, a lopsided smile and a great wolf whistle!”Read more
Journalist, Ellen Beardmore, was floored when she found out she had a large tumour growing in her brain. Aged 25, she had a long life ahead of her… or did she? A 13-hour operation followed and fortunately it was a success. Despite losing her hearing in one ear, she left the hospital with a newfound appreciation for life and she hasn’t looked back since.
“A CAT scan followed and it was then that I heard the words that no one wants to hear. They’d found a big tumour in my brain. They said it had probably been growing since I was a teenager, in the background and had gone unnoticed. I desperately tried to think back and remember symptoms I might have missed or ignored; could that whooshing sound in my ear have been a warning sign?”Read more
Emily Corrigan put her headaches down to her hectic life as the mother of four young children. She got on with raising her family and put up with the pain and fatigue for two years before being diagnosed with a low-grade diffuse astrocytoma which was successfully removed during surgery. Emily was told she had a 50/50 chance of the tumour returning. In fact she has had two reoccurences and has undergone further surgery, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Emily battles with fatigue and low energy, but tries to stay positive for the sake of her children.Read more