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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.


Anon

You are forever in our hearts.

Recently published stories

Jenny Murray

Having lost his first wife to cancer, aged 41, Steve thought he had found his life-long partner and soul-mate, following a recording session in his music studio. Jenny was a very talented musician and singer. Tragically, just eight years after they got together Jenny was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, passing away four months later. Read more

Martin Greenfield

Martin Greenfield was a bright, healthy and energetic 11-year-old when he was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumour in 1995. Twenty four years after his death and the excruciating pain of losing a child has never left Martin’s mother, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has recently made the decision to leave a significant gift to Brain Tumour Research in her will, to honour her son and to help improve outcomes for brain tumour patients in the future.

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Kevin O’Mahoney

Kevin O’Mahoney, a construction contractor, drummer and rock music enthusiast from Cannock, died just a year after his diagnosis with an aggressive brain tumour, aged 53. The tumour caused him to lose function of his left-side and problems to his eyesight. He left his wife Annette and their two daughters Paige and Eve, 22 and 20, and now his family are keen to fundraise in his memory, by hosting a charity concert for Brain Tumour Research.

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All stories

Anna Swabey


Diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 23, Anna Swabey was intitally given just months to live. Under the care of neurosurgeon Kevin O’Neill, who leads the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Imperial College, London, Anna had surgery and treatment. She also got engaged and shared her experiences through her blog Inside My Head. Anna passed away on 16th September 2016, the day before she was due to marry.


“I am fortunate in that I don’t feel my illness dictates my life and while I am most definitely the same person, I even feel as if I am a better person for it. I know this may sound odd but my diagnosis has made me view my life differently and the way I am choosing to live now leaves me feeling fulfilled. I love knowing that I can make a difference, and, potentially help others.”
 
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Annie Hughes

Annie had severe speech and language difficulties which meant that she had to attend special schools from the age of six.  Despite her problems, Annie was a ray of sunshine and made friends wherever she went.  On leaving school she found herself a job, met her future husband and started a family.  After all the early adversities, it seemed that Annie’s life was to have a fairy tale ending…

“As a family, we are all united in a desire for Annie’s legacy to be that fair amounts of funding are dedicated to research into brain tumours.  We want there to be hope, not despair, for other people who learn that a member of their family has been diagnosed with this devastating disease.”
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Arthur Boyd

Arthur was a fit and healthy man and a loving husband and father to his three sons.  He had a strong Christian faith which was a huge source of comfort and strength not only to him, but his whole family when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour just before Christmas 2015.  He died just short of six months later, aged 69.

“I was aware of brain tumours, but had never equated them to brain cancer until Dad was diagnosed.  I spent an inordinate amount of time researching treatments such as electric therapy in Germany, as well as immunotherapy trials, but it was soul-destroying not to be able to find anything available to Dad no matter how hard or far we looked.”
 
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Ashley Shameli

Ashley Shameli was 22 and training to be a solicitor when he was diagnosed with a grade two astrocytoma brain tumour after suffering a massive epileptic seizure. He underwent several operations with the pioneering brain surgeon Henry Marsh and endured gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He lived for another eight years and died aged 30, leaving his beloved mum Jeanette, his dad, his older sister Shardi and younger brother Shervin.

“When Ashley was born I was six-and-a-half. I remember being so proud to be the big sister of such a beautiful, happy little boy. My other brother, Shervin, was born a year and half later. The three of us were exceptionally close as children and lived together when we moved to London. I will never forget Ashley’s beautiful smile, his cheeky dimple, his twinkling eyes and his kindness. He adored his family and we adored him.”
 
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Aurora Provenzano

Aurora was just six years old with her whole life ahead of her when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  She fought a brave battle for three and a half years, but sadly lost the fight, leaving her parents and two sisters, Isabella and Chiara with a huge hole in their family.  

Aurora only ever had one fit and that was it - she was otherwise completely healthy.  Yet in 2006 we found ourselves at our local hospital where an MRI scan revealed Aurora had a brain tumour.  When  Aurora was diagnosed it felt like I was having an out of body experience.  I was pregnant with my third daughter and it seemed like I was looking down at myself, not knowing what to think.
 
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Barry Albin-Dyer OBE

When respected Bermondsey undertaker and family man, Barry Albin-Dyer OBE, started seeing zig zags in front of his eyes, he could not have guessed that a scan would reveal a very aggressive brain tumour near his optical nerve. Determined to survive and be a “Bermondsey boy for years to come”, he underwent gruelling treatments, documented his battle in his blog, and sadly died less than two years later.           

“Barry, being Barry, was determined to keep going in to work every day he could. “I’ve got to keep on going,” he would declare, “or I’m a dead man.” Barry had a strong will and a strong Catholic faith, and two those things helped him get through it. He never wanted the cancer to take him over and stop him doing the things he loved. I’ve always thought that was what kept him alive for as long as he was.”

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Becky Speirs


Becky had been suffering with increasingly bad headaches and then vomiting for about 3 months and it was starting to get worse.  The doctors missed the signs and failed to diagnose a brain tumour, but I don’t blame them.  The outcome would have been the same. 

Eventually in May 2009 she collapsed and was taken to hospital where a scan indicated a brain tumour.  We were given the official diagnosis on Becky’s 39th birthday – 28th May.  She had a glioblastoma multiforme with a prognosis of 12 to 14 months.  The neuro-surgeon was unable to get the entire tumour out and said that it was the most aggressive one he had ever seen
 
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Becky Vines

Becky was just 23 when she was diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour and told she had a year to live. She outlived the prognosis, surviving for nine years, and despite being told her extensive treatment would leave her infertile, gave birth to a “miracle” daughter who was seven when she lost her mum in June 2017.

“Although there was no change in Becky’s tumour for six years its presence was always there, casting a shadow, and it was as if we lived on a knife-edge as we waited anxiously from one scan appointment to the next. Becky was really positive where I was more realistic and ensured her daughter Phoebe was prepared from the beginning for what was likely to happen. Phoebe had always known she was going to lose her mum and we are now her Moma and Popa. She is a delightful child, so much like Becky and it is hard not to cry as she catches me unawares by saying things like how much she misses her mum’s warm hands and I know exactly what she means.”

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Ben Whitehouse

Ben Whitehouse was travelling on a train with his girlfriend Rachel when he suffered a severe seizure. He was taken straight to hospital where he was diagnosed with a high- grade glioblastoma brain tumour. The couple were married in Hampshire in April 2012 and just days after they returned from honeymoon in Cambodia, Ben became ill once more. He passed away three years after his diagnosis. He was 34.  

“We had been married for just 15 months when Ben died. I never imagined that after such a short time I would be on my own. In those last few weeks when he was so ill we talked a lot. He deteriorated so fast but I kept talking to him although I don’t know how much he understood or even heard. Life is still hard but at least we had the chance to say goodbye.”

 
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Bernice McCabe

Sadly, Bernice passed away on 18th February 2019. This story was written before her passing but will be updated fully at a time appropriate for her family to whom we send our sincerest condolences.

Former headteacher, Bernice McCabe OBE, has instilled one essential piece of advice in her pupils: you have to rewrite the story when life takes an unexpected turn. Little did she know, Bernice would need to apply this lesson in her own life when, at the age of 65, she was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). One craniotomy, one surprise proposal, and several courses of treatment later, and Bernice is as resilient and optimistic as can be.

 “A CAT scan confirmed I wasn’t suffering from a stroke but something else was happening. I was transferred urgently to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with Rod driving separately behind the ambulance, worrying that I wouldn’t be alive when he met me there.”

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