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Together we will find a cure Donate

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

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.

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Charlie Clayton

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.

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Emma Selby

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.

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All stories

Gary Nelson

Gary Nelson, from Chester, is in the throes of battling his third brain tumour and is undergoing six months of chemotherapy to try to control the disease. The dad-of-one’s brain tumour journey began in 1985 when, at the age of seven, he was diagnosed with a low-grade tumour, which was successfully treated with neurosurgery and a gruelling course of radiotherapy. Having already overcome the most unimaginable hurdles, Gary and his wife Amy continue to stay brave and positive, as they turn to fundraising to give them a positive focus and to fight for other sufferers and their loved ones.

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Gary Robinson

Father-of-two Gary Robinson marked his 34th birthday in May 2015 by running the Manchester 10K to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. It was the first such event he had taken part in and it came just months after he underwent surgery and radiotherapy to remove an extremely rare and aggressive grade II haemangiopericytoma brain tumour. Read more

Gavin Hawke

Gavin had recently become a father and had been married for just six weeks when he was diagnosed with cancer of the spine which had metastasised to his brain. His new wife and baby daughter had to move temporarily from Cornwall to Bristol to be with him as he underwent surgery and radiotherapy treatment.

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Gemma Gliddon

Mother-of-two Gemma Gliddon is awaiting surgery for a schwannoma brain tumour which has regrown after a previous operation. Determined to remain positive, Gemma, 32, is training to become a nurse and is helping to raise awareness and funds for research by taking part Wear A Hat Day 2015 just four days after her latest operation. Read more

George Devlin

For first-time parents Stephanie Day and James Devlin, it was devastating to be told their new-born baby George had a brain tumour. ‘Gorgeous George’ underwent a nine-hour craniotomy when he was just 10 weeks old and is now a healthy and happy little boy. His mum Stephanie, 27, who was shocked that someone so young could be diagnosed with such a serious condition, is keen to raise awareness of the disease.

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George Stocker

In April 2008 George became ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. George underwent over 80 weeks of treatment including multiple operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. George and his family started fundraising in August 2008 and have raised over £32,000. Read more

Gordon Shaw

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!”

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Grace Daly

A 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.”
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Grace Thoburn

Grace 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

Graham Wood

Pevensey dad Graham Wood, 35, was diagnosed with a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma five years ago. Having outlived his bleak prognosis of just three years, he is determined to make the most of every day with his wife Amber and their five-year-old son Reuben.

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