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
Gordon was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 32, after first being told he had probably a stroke and then possibly he was HIV positive. He started writing comics to help his friends and family understand cancer and as something cathartic for himself, but is now publishing them, as well as exhibiting the comics to a wider audience. He feels happy and settled, but his seizures are a constant reminder that his life is very uncertain.
“Having a brain tumour has changed the way I live my life. When I am in my happy head, I often think I might not see too many more of these times, so I try to recognise good moments when I am in them and thank people who are there sharing them with me. Compared with so many people I feel very lucky that I got away with it so lightly. I have had no long-term effects from my treatment apart from hair loss, but I have my beard as compensation for that!”Read more
Grace DalyA healthy 15-year-old, Grace found herself with the devastating diagnosis of a brain tumour after a short bout of headaches, dizziness and vomiting.
After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to eradicate her medulloblastoma, Grace has now been clear for seven years, and is a nurse, inspired by the amazing care she received during the battle with her tumour.
“It’s a totally devastating thing to lose your hair when you’re 15 when the way you look is so important.” Read more
Grace ThoburnGrace and her husband-to-be bonded over the scars on their skull – she had gone through brain tumour surgery and he had a bone-anchored hearing aid fitted. They are now expecting their second child and, as a patient representative on the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, Grace is helping to shape the future for patients. Read more
Gruff CrowtherSchoolboy Gruff Crowther was diagnosed with a brain tumour after minor but repeated difficulties with his eyesight. At the age of seven, he was the youngest patient to attend a reception at Speaker’s House, Westminster, in March 2016 when he joined the charity Brain Tumour Research in calling for more funding for the devastating disease.
“We have been very open with Gruff right from the start, telling him right from day one that he has a tumour and that means a lump of badly behaved cells which are reproducing incorrectly. He is aware that there are different types of brain tumour and different types of cancer. While Gruff’s tumour is low-grade we mustn’t been fooled into thinking that means it is benign – we are aware that the rate of growth can accelerate and things can become problematic. Left untreated, Gruff’s tumour would definitely have caused more problems as it spread. So far, his scans have shown the tumour has reduced in size and, for now, things are looking positive.”
Harry MockettMusician Harry Mockett, 20, from Northampton, was diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma in May 2018, after suffering from vision problems. The tumour damaged Harry’s pituitary gland and he developed life-threatening complications from the surgery he needed to save his life. Thankfully, with the support of parents Sue and Ian, and sister Rosie, Harry is now doing well and is looking forward to releasing his debut EP ‘H.I.M.’ in June 2019. Read more
Harry St Ledger
Six-year-old Harry was diagnosed with a suspected diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) after what should have been a straightforward procedure to fit a grommet in his ear revealed a sinister growth in his brain. His tumour type has a shockingly poor prognosis and limited treatment is available. There is no option for Harry who will battle for his life dressed as Spider-Man, his favourite superhero.
“I am shocked to learn that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under the age of 40, yet so many people still think it is leukaemia which is killing more of our precious children than any other form of this hideous disease. I am angry to think that Harry will have to live away from the security and comfort of his own home during treatment and I am frightened to think of what lies ahead.Read more
Heather TurnerHeather was 24 when she was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a low-grade brain tumour which caused partial hearing loss. The only treatment option was surgery but complications caused nerve damage leading to life-long difficulties including facial palsy and the loss of sight in one eye.
“It took me ten years to recover from the damage caused by surgery to remove my brain tumour. There have been times when I’ve wondered if life was still worth living. Although I have lost count of the number of operations I have had to make me look ‘normal’, I now feel as if the worst thing that ever happened to me has changed my life for the better.” Read more
Professional dancer Holly Dooley began experiencing mild seizures whilst on a tour of Russia. Having recently got married and looking forward to starting a family, her world was thrown into turmoil as it became clear from an MRI scan, that the seizures were caused by a tumour on the front right temporal lobe of the brain. Having endured numerous operations and radiotherapy over the last four years, Holly remains determined to stay positive and enjoy her life.
“It was time for my career as a professional dancer to end. I have achieved some amazing things over the years but having to close the curtain on the job I loved was heart-breaking.”Read more
Husband, father and grandfather Ian was 55 was when he was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour. He underwent surgery and was able to return to work but began to experience seizures, now controlled by medication, as the tumour grew back. No other treatments are available and further operation to de-bulk the tumour is seen as a last resort.
“Telling my children I had a brain tumour is, without doubt, the worst thing I have ever had to do. I can’t bear to see them upset and it makes me sorry to think that their lives are tinged with sadness because of me but, it is what it is; I am still here and determined to enjoy whatever time I may have with them. For a while the tumour was dormant and like a walnut in my brain but now it is growing once more. There are no other treatments other than a de-bulking operation which would be the last resort. In many ways I feel as if a breakthrough with a new drug is the only hope I have and that is why the research being funded by the charity Brain Tumour Research is so vitally important.”Read more