In Our Hearts
Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years
These very brave people will remain in our hearts for ever and it is because of them that we are fighting to find a cure so that no other family should have to suffer in the same way.
We thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
You are forever in our hearts.
Recently published stories
Ava BallAva’s mother was alarmed to find a lump on the back of her two-month-old baby’s head, but was told by her GP it was a soft spot. The lump had grown to the size of a tennis ball when Ava finally had an MRI scan, aged seven months. A biopsy determined the lump was a primary malignant melanocytic brain tumour with intra as well as extra-cranial components. After surgery, there was nothing more which could be done to save little Ava and she passed away in her mummy’s arms, aged just eight months.
Andy married his childhood sweetheart and together they had two children and a lovely life. But then Andy started shaking uncontrollably, leading eventually to his diagnosis with an inoperable and incurable DIPG brain tumour, much more common among children. Radiotherapy changed his personality and his marriage broke down. Andy passed away three and a half years after his diagnosis, aged 33.Read more
Sue’s career took her from shorthand typist to HR director. She found her soul-mate in Mark who also loved the great outdoors and together they had a wonderful son, but Sue was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour which killed her just 15 months later aged 55. Six months after Sue’s diagnosis, Mark was diagnosed with blood cancer.Read more
Paul and Helen never anticipated that their wonderful family life with their much-wanted daughter Matilda would come crashing down with Helen’s diagnosis with an aggressive brain tumour. In the four and a half years she survived with a glioblastoma multiforme, Helen underwent surgery four times as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.Read more
Holly Atkins Fooks
Holly was just 11 when she passed away in September 2017, less than two years after being diagnosed with a highly aggressive brain tumour for which there is no cure. She endured two brain surgeries; chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the maximum amount a child could be given. Her family was devastated when, despite treatment, the brain tumour grew back leaving Holly disabled and bed-bound.
“Holly always wanted to live in a camper van; she loved them, and so she travelled to the crematorium in a specially-converted camper van with pink streamers waving from the roof corners. We all wore something pink in her honour. Her casket was pink with rainbows and her floral tributes included a unicorn head. She went with her faithful Dolly and Doggy and we all sprinkled fairy dust over her casket as we said goodbye. We think she is out there somewhere in a special place, chasing unicorns and rainbows, riding ponies and making fun of us when we do silly things – just as she used to do. We will never forget her.”Read more
Holly had a headache which wouldn't go away. An MRI scan revealed a brain tumour in a very inaccessible place. Now she is a teenager trying to live a normal life in between 3 monthly scans.
We are grateful to Holly who worked with us in February 2010 to share her story here. Sadly, she passed away on 18th December 2017. We remember Holly as we continue our work to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research to help find a cure. She will be forever in our hearts.
Hugh WalkerHugh was 46 when he passed away on the 25th September 2013, just four months after diagnosis. We had been together for 20 years and married for 14 of them. Between us we had twins – George and Jasmine who were just eight years old at the time, while Hugh also had two grown up children – Joshua and Naomi from a previous relationship. We were all very close and remain so.
“During the four months Hugh survived following his diagnosis, he was a pillar of strength. He knew he was dying, yet he spent lots of time with me talking and passing on his strength. He told me his goals and what he wanted me to do with the children and for myself. He asked that he be cremated and buried under the apple tree in the garden and that a friend of his should make a bench so that we could sit there and be with him.”
Ian DaviesIan and Karen got together later in life after Karen had been on her own for 10 years following the breakdown of her first marriage. They had 12 blissfully happy years and were looking forward to an early retirement, until Ian was diagnosed with three brain tumours. He passed away just nine months later, aged 49. Read more
Ian Lowe’s brain tumour story is yet another example of how cruel and devastating the disease often is, and how desperately a cure needs to be found. After a routine cataract operation, the 56-year-old was told the disturbing news that a mass was sitting behind his eye. Ian was then diagnosed with a large and aggressive CNS lymphoma and his treatment options were extremely bleak. Just two months later, on Valentine’s Day 2017, Ian died, leaving an irreplaceable hole in the lives of his family.
“In hindsight, Dad wasn’t quite right. He wasn’t himself. We’d be talking about one thing and he’d get confused and answer about something completely different. I guess we all just put it down to the fact he’d had a few drinks and, Dad being Dad, he just laughed it off and made a joke out of it. A moment that upsets me now, looking back, was when we said our goodbyes and he gave me such a heartfelt hug, it was as if he somehow knew he might not see me again.”Read more
Ian MeekIn 1995 Ian was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Married to Sally with three children, Ian counted himself one of the lucky ones because he survived so long. In 2009 the tumour turned cancerous and he had to undergo an operation to remove part of it and then undergo a fairly intensive period of chemotherapy whilst training for the famous three peaks challenge, which became known as Meek’s Peaks. Sadly Ian passed away on 1st August 2012 leaving a legacy of research at Leeds University having raised over £105,000.
Ian WalshFormer fireman and pub landlord Ian Walsh was taken ill at Christmas and, within a month, he was diagnosed with a high-grade glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour. He passed away in August 2015, just four months after marrying his “soul mate” and long-term partner Glenda.
“The doctors tried to ensure he had the best quality of life for as long as possible. The day we got married was a bitter sweet occasion; you marry someone for life and I now realise we should have done it years ago. We had been together for a long time and kept putting it off, saying next year ...”
Ian was only 41 years old when he passed away, just three months after learning he had an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4). His passion for riding and specifically the sport of eventing, led his widow, Kathryn, to establish the Ian White Memorial Trophy. This is presented each August during the Smith’s Lawn horse trials in Windsor Great Park to the best amateur event rider.
“Ian was then transferred to the John Radcliffe in Oxford where he underwent a biopsy – we had already been told that he wouldn’t have surgery because of the position of the tumour. Until this point we clung on to thinking that there would be some hope, but when we were given the results of the biopsy, that Ian had a high- grade glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4), we both knew this was it. We saw the consultant together. He was quite clear that Ian couldn’t be cured…”
Ieuan JonesBased in Dubai with his wife, Kelly, and a successful trainer for Emirates airline, Ieuan displayed very uncommon symptoms ahead of the discovery of his tumour.
With the devastating news that he had an aggressive GBM, Ieuan and his family relocated back to Wales, and he lost his fight less than two years later.
“That Christmas, I bought Ieu a star. We named it “Daddy’s Star” and we told Sienna that when he was no longer around, she could look up in the sky and the brightest star would be the one he was sitting on.” Read more