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
In August 2019, mum-of-two Michelle Noakes, from Bow in East London, had her ultimate dream wedding to her beloved husband, Simon. They were surrounded by their friends and family, with their young children Otto and Poppy there to take part in their special day. Only a few months later, however, their world would come crashing down when Michelle was diagnosed with an aggressive and inoperable brain tumour. Determined to defy her stark prognosis, Michelle underwent standard of care NHS treatment, as well as private therapies, but sadly her condition worsened and eventually, her options ran out. She died at home in June 2021, aged 39, leaving her loved ones devastated. Her family feel strongly that there needs to be more funding for research to find better treatments so that other young children do not lose their mum in this way.Read more
Chloe from Worcestershire died exactly a year after she was diagnosed with a rare grade 4 brain tumour. She began to experience painful headaches and after trips back and forth to the GP, she was finally referred for an MRI scan which revealed devastating news of a mass on her brain. Months of radiotherapy couldn’t compete with the aggressiveness of the tumour and the cancer spread and Chloe died on 15 September 2016 at the age of 19, surrounded by her family. Six years after her death, her brother, Jordan is fundraising to help fund the fight and find a cure for the deadly disease.Read more
Michael Crayford, of Gillingham in Kent, was diagnosed with a rare immature teratoma, a type of intracranial germ cell tumour (GCT), in September 2016 after suffering with sudden headaches, blurred vision, sickness and balance problems. He underwent five brain surgeries, intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy but died six months later, in March 2017. He was just 13 years old.Read more
It seemed nothing would tear childhood sweethearts Sandra and Alan May apart. After 30 years of married life, they were given the devastating news that Alan had a highly aggressive brain tumour. Just 10 months later, in August 2016, he passed away, leaving his parents, sister, wife, two sons and three granddaughters. Facing life without her soulmate, Sandra has run a fete in memory of her husband for the past three years, alongside a football tournament organised by her son, Shane, and has helped to raise around £5,400 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
“My grieving process began as soon as Alan was diagnosed. It felt like somebody had ripped my heart out and, when I look back, the whole period was a total blur. It seemed as if I was on standby. My life was completely out of control, but I had to stay strong and put on a brave face for Alan. In the final days I had to agree to Alan’s wish, to stop treatment, so that he could pass peacefully away. It felt like an eternity but it was the last act of love.”Read more
Alan NeedhamAlan was born and bred in Doncaster and worked for the civil service for over 30 years. He was very proud of his two sons, Darren and Andrew, and his three grand-daughters. Never having been a drinker or a smoker, Alan enjoyed making music most of his life. He learnt to play the euphonium as a very young boy and has played in numerous brass bands within South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire since the age of eight, as well as becoming a musical director and conductor. Alan met his partner, Sarah, and moved to Scunthorpe in 2013, a year before he was diagnosed with a GBM4 and given just months to live.
“Alan had a CT scan and could see for himself there was a big white lump in his brain. He got his piece of paper again and wrote, “I can see that big white lump. I know I haven’t had a stroke.” Read more
Albie Bayliss-Watts, from Didcot in Oxfordshire, was just two years old when, in November 2021, he died from an aggressive brain tumour he’d been fighting for less than a year. Albie’s death has left his two mums, Lauren and Hayley, completely heart-broken. Having dedicated the last year of their lives to caring for Albie through gruelling surgeries and chemotherapy, they are now trying to deal with their grief by raising awareness and fundraising in his name.Read more
Alex Wilson, a lorry driver and father-of-one from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, was diagnosed with an aggressive, grade 4 brain tumour in June 2018. He went through two brain surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but succumbed to this terrible disease in February 2021, aged 31. Alex left behind a loving family, including his wife Jade and seven-year-old son, Ryan.
Alexander Paul from South London was 18 when he addressed the 2014 Conservative Party Conference and described his experience of policing policy. At the Conservative Party Conference in 2017 Theresa May informed her party that Alexander had died earlier that year from a brain tumour. Joanna Brown tells the devastating story of her son’s illness, the awful impact on her and the loss to society of a gifted individual who had so much to give.
“It is this sense of crushing loss, this waste of potential, that haunt my days. He did so much but could have done so much more. I did everything I could but I couldn’t save my son and our tragedy is a wider tragedy as society needs people like my son, Alexander.
I am angry and full of what ifs but we have his poetry, his humanity and his spirit as his legacy. We didn’t discuss his mortality, he didn’t leave us letters but he left us his prose and that comforts me. A book of his work was published a year on from his death and he would have been proud of that.”Read more
Our Fundraising Group, Alexandra’s Angels, is inspired by the story of Alexandra Foulis who died at the age of 24. Known to loved ones as Ally, she was a fun, outgoing and confident young woman whose life ended far too soon. She underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to halt a grade 3 astrocytoma but Ally passed away in August 2011. Through Alexandra’s Angels, her sisters Melissa and Rebecca are keeping Ally’s memory alive and funding the fight against brain tumours in her name.
“Not only had the tumour returned but it was back larger than before, now measuring 7cm. What’s worse, it was inoperable because it was too close to the nerves that controlled her breathing and heart-rate. We were all devastated to learn the tumour was now terminal. Ally being Ally, tried to lift the mood, saying: ‘Well, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, and I ain’t singing yet!’”Read more
Alison Blackwell, from Brighouse in West Yorkshire, spent many years working as a successful graphic designer and art director for a clothing catalogue before going into the millinery business with her husband, Joe. Joe’s long-established family tradition of working in the hat trade combined with Alison’s fashion background, eye for colour and design flair, meant the couple made the perfect team. However, tragedy struck in December 2021, when Alison was diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable brain tumour. She died just four weeks later, on New Year’s Day 2022, leaving Joe and their 18-year-old daughter Libby devastated.Read more
Alison PhelanThe year 2000 approached - a new millennium and a new beginning. New years always made me sad, looking back at our happy life wondering what was ahead.
In May I became unsettled but didn’t know why, when my life was so complete. Then I became aware that Alison had developed a subtle incomplete movement in her eye that only a mother would notice. I took her to the doctor who referred me to an optician who said it was common and would correct itself.
Gary and I would talk and talk about it. I knew something was wrong. I went back to the doctor then to another optician. “Please someone listen to me”. I started to make Gary nervous. He knew I knew the children so well.
I went to a third optician - Gary was on a school trip with one of the boys but I went on the spur of the moment. I hated this feeling in my stomach telling me to act and act now!
They did test after test, and then told me to go to A&E with a letter that something was making the muscles in her eye deteriorate. Gary was only 5 minutes away; we dropped the boys off and went to the hospital. They said they couldn’t see anything but told us to go to a leading eye hospital the next day.
We are grateful to Aman, and his brother Anoop, who worked with us in October 2021 to share his story here. Sadly, he passed away in December 2021. We remember Aman as we continue our work to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research to help find a cure. He will be forever in our hearts.
Young father Aman Sumal had everything to look forward to when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering a seizure and headaches in August 2020. Initially, it was thought he had a low-grade tumour and he was given anti-seizure medication and referred for three-monthly scans. However, after having another seizure five months later, an MRI showed areas of concern and he underwent debulking surgery, with COVID-19 restrictions preventing anyone from being by his side. A biopsy of his tumour revealed that it was, in fact, a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and the 36-year-old, of Ruislip in West London, underwent chemotherapy and intensive radiotherapy while his family privately funded a protocol with a naturopath from Australia. Sadly, Aman has continued to deteriorate and, having now exhausted all his options on the NHS, his family have turned to crowdfunding to raise the money needed to pay for private immunotherapy treatment and specifically-formulated vaccines.Read more
We are grateful to Amani and her father, Khuram, who worked with us in October 2020 to share her story here. Sadly, she passed away in February 2022. We remember Amani 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.
The eldest of three sisters, Amani Liaquat was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour after collapsing at home on her 22nd birthday in April 2020. The coronavirus lockdown meant she had to endure brain surgery and numerous scans with no visitors allowed at her bedside during a 12-day stay in hospital. After standard of care failed to stop the growth of her tumour the family were left in the difficult position of having to source lifesaving treatment from Germany. Thanks to the generosity of family, friends and complete strangers, over £100,000 was quickly raised to help finance this.Read more