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In Hope

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

Rob Tillen

Professional DJ and keen rugby player, Rob Tillen, from Thornbury in South Gloucestershire, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2021, after an optician sent him to A&E following a routine eye test. First suspected to have suffered a stroke, a CT scan revealed Rob had a mass in the left side of his brain and a biopsy later revealed it was a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), meaning his prognosis is a stark 12 to 18 months. Following successful surgery to remove the tumour, Rob underwent radiotherapy and is currently on chemotherapy to try to delay the inevitable regrowth of his tumour. His fiancée, Annabel, who Rob is due to marry this summer, is fundraising to help pay for costly private treatment overseas, in a bid to extend his life.  

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Emma Crabtree

Emma Crabtree, 49, from Skipton in North Yorkshire started getting headaches at work and had problems with her coordination in 2009. When she lost the feeling on her left-hand side a stroke was suspected, but doctors assured her that nothing was wrong. When Emma’s headaches intensified, her mum insisted that she be given an MRI scan. The scan revealed she had a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour and she was given just 12-18 months to live. Twelve years on, Emma is defying the odds.

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Linda Goode

Mother-of-three Linda Goode, an identical triplet from Lewes in East Sussex, started experiencing problems with her speech in October 2021. After several noticeable incidents in less than a week, she went to A&E where a CT scan revealed a mass on her brain. On her way home from a subsequent appointment, she suffered a seizure in the car and was given the anti-seizure medication Keppra. Over the next couple of weeks, she struggled to hold a conversation and developed a fear of talking after learning that doing so triggered her seizures, although increasing her medication helped. In November she underwent a biopsy and debulking surgery and in December she was formally diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The freelance PE teacher and advisor will be starting radiotherapy and chemotherapy in the New Year.

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All stories

Claire Whittle

Claire, a French teacher at Stanton School in Milton Keynes, was diagnosed with a grade 2/3 astrocytoma in 2011, aged 51. She made a decision at the time that she wouldn’t be a victim and that she would live to be a grandmother. Nearly five years on she feels so blessed to still be here.

“I was given the news by a hard-nosed clinical nurse specialist because my neurosurgeon was called away on an emergency.  She walked in with a big white envelope and bluntly stated: “I know all about it.  There is no cure… but the good news is that you can have a bus pass.”
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Damon Bowles

It's been just over a year since 49-year-old dad-of-two, Damon Bowles, received treatment for a low-grade acoustic neuroma brain tumour. It's a non-cancerous growth that presses on the nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain and can affect your hearing and balance. 

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Dan Braiden

Aged 30, Dan Braiden, from Cosham, near Portsmouth, had already survived testicular cancer only to be told he had a highly aggressive and incurable brain tumour. The developer at The Insurance Factory, an insurance firm based in Portsmouth, had suffered from a number of symptoms including tingling sensations, before his diagnosis with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in December 2019. Having had surgery and radiotherapy, Dan is trying to stay positive, with the support of his caring parents and loveable dog Winston.

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Dan Horrocks

Dan was at university when he started to suffer from crippling headaches which led to his eventual diagnosis with a grade 3 ependymoma brain tumour. Ten years on, he has had surgery three times and undergone radiotherapy. Although he lives with the knowledge that his tumour could return, he is optimistic about the future, having just moved into a new flat with his wife and working as a parliamentary researcher at Westminster.

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Dan Mason

After suffering seizures, former soldier Dan Mason, 33, was diagnosed with a pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma – a very rare and incurable type of brain tumour. He was forced to quit the job he loved and lost his driving licence, yet still faced his diagnosis with positivity. A tattoo across his chest, which translates to ‘think positive, be strong’, reminds Dan to live in the moment, despite the pressure his illness places on him, his wife Roz and his children Caleb, 10, and Daisy, two.

Emotionally, things were tough. I remember standing outside the hospital, in my army uniform, crying. My friends and family members didnt know how to react or how to comfort me and that was really hard to deal with.

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Daniel Burridge

Daniel is the youngest of three children with an older brother and sister. In his last year at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Daniel is studying for A’ Levels in Further Maths, Physics and Geography, having already taken Maths last year.  He is applying to university to study Mechanical Engineering and hopes to get a place at Imperial or Bath.  

Aged 17, Daniel was just 5ft, 5in tall, despite his Dad being 6ft 4in.  Investigations led to him being diagnosed with a tumour on his pituitary gland, which fortunately turned out to be benign.  

“Mum found the six-week wait to learn whether the tumour was benign or malignant much more worrying than me. It really affected her, especially as, unbeknown to me, she went online and looked up pituitary gland tumours and discovered that in 20 per cent of cases they are malignant. I was more worried about whether I was going to be able to continue boxing, which I had enjoyed so much for the past five years.”  
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Danielle Gibbons

Former professional footballer Danielle Gibbons, from Chorley in Lancashire, was 23 when she was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour, growing on the vestibulocochlear nerve, which helps to control hearing and balance. Just over a year later she was back on the pitch and, in November 2015, she received a Special Recognition Award at her club’s Player of the Year Awards. She’s no longer playing football for a living but 27-year-old Danielle is channelling her active and competitive nature into a fundraising challenge to raise awareness of brain tumours.

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Danielle Louise Gould

After experiencing months of painful headaches and issues with her balance, flight attendant, Danielle Louise Gould was diagnosed with a cerebellar hemangioblastoma brain tumour in 2012. Though her tumour was categorised as low-grade and not aggressive, Danielle still had to undergo 8 surgeries to remove the tumour and control the fluid build-up on her brain. With the support of her family, boyfriend and twin sister Cherise, Danielle rebuilt her life after the tumour and remains determined to continue working on her bucket list of goals with her sister before they turn 30 next year.

“I was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where an MRI scan revealed the nature of my tumour. It showed I had a tumour the size of a pea called a cerebellar hemangioblastoma in the centre of my brain, surrounded by a layer of fluid. This build-up of fluid, the size of an egg, was pushing on the cerebellum, which is the part of my brain that controls balance, movement and coordination.”

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Darcyana Aspery-Walsh

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.”

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Dave Bolton

In May 2014, Dave Bolton, from the Wirral, Merseyside, suffered a nocturnal seizure, which led to the dad-of-two being diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized tumour in the frontal lobe of his brain. He underwent a life-saving craniotomy and the histology report showed it was a grade 2 astrocytoma, carrying with it a life expectancy of just five years. The Royal Air Force veteran, who was a serving police officer at the time of his diagnosis, was deemed unfit to resume full duties and was forced to take medical retirement. Dave went on to qualify as a strength and conditioning coach, specialising in rugby and combat sports and he set up a website to publicly document his treatment and diet regime, in order to support fellow patients. Seven years post-diagnosis, Dave’s scan results remain stable and he continues to offer advice and encouragement to others on similar journeys. 

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