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
Shay passed away 22 months after his diagnosis with a glioblastoma multiforme. The eldest of their three children, his parents Niki and Deenu weren’t prepared to give up on Shay and did their utmost to find alternative options for his clinical care, going to the United States, as well as Germany. Sadly Shay’s experimental treatment came to an end because of the coronavirus pandemic.Read more
Lee Patterson, from Whitley Bay, was 51 when he died from a brain tumour in November 2020, after a very short battle with the disease. Lee, the head of a large sixth form college in North Tyneside, left behind his beloved wife Kathy and their three sons William, 23, Thomas, 22 and Michael, 20.Read more
Andrew Gardner and Patrick Gardner
Jason Rigby, Director of Fundraising and Supporter Care at Brain Tumour Research, has a very personal reason for working to help find a cure for brain tumours. He lost both his brother and his father to the disease. Jason was just a teenager when he lost his sibling and, some 30 years later, his father died having been diagnosed with the same type of aggressive brain tumour.Read more
Blaise Nelson was diagnosed with multiple brain tumours in February 2018, at the age of just six. The schoolboy from Didsbury in Greater Manchester underwent major surgery and extensive treatment, including a clinical trial, to try to prolong his life. Tragically, his treatment options eventually ran out and he died at home in October 2019, leaving behind his devastated parents Rachel and Chris and three siblings, including his four-year-old sister, Asha.Read more
Bob shared his story with us in September 2016. Sadly, he passed away on 25th June 2019. We will remember Bob 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.
A successful double bass player, Bob Picken has been a member of Liverpool band Ella Guru, as well as a backing for artists such as Neville Skelly, She Drew The Gun, Bill Ryder-Jones and Marvin Powell.
Diagnosed in 2012 with an anaplastic astrocytoma, whom he affectionately calls “Bieber” in reference to the Canadian singer Justin, Bob has managed to overcome a number of setbacks to carry on with his career, and in his own words “stick two fingers up to cancer”.
“You go through five stages of cancer: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and eventually acceptance.”
Diagnosed with a multifocal grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in December 2018, 71-year-old Bob Witherspoon from Whitley Bay lost his life to this aggressive brain tumour just four months later. At his funeral, rather than flowers, his family requested a collection for Brain Tumour Research. Having raised over £700 to help fund research to prevent other families from going through the pain they have suffered, they now want to raise awareness of this cruel disease, by sharing their heart-breaking experience.Read more
Brian lived in Gressenhall near Dereham, Norfolk and was a great family man and a wonderful husband. He had three children – Camilla from his first marriage and Rosie and Tom from our marriage. He cared deeply about each one of them and was particularly protective about Camilla who suffered badly with asthma and eczema from an early age. Brian was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma brain tumour and passed away almost a year later, aged 62, on 23rd September 2006.
Here is Brian’s story as told by his wife, Sally…
“Brian knew he was going to die. There were still lots of things he wanted to do, but he was at peace with himself, which was a huge comfort to me. We used to sit together in the garden and he would tell me everything he wanted me to do with the children and his businesses after he had gone. He was an amazing man, even in the last year when he was dying.”
Brain's story was written while he was still with us. Sadly Brian passed away at the end of November 2018. We will update his story fully at a more suitable time. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Fay and their family at this immeasurably sad time.
Brian Rockell has worked within the healthcare industry for decades, yet when he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, aged 68, he was shocked by the distressing experience of brain tumour patients. Although facing his own anxieties and challenges, Brian is now determined to campaign for and support others affected by this devastating disease.
“I was transferred to the Royal Sussex County Hospital for surgery…. and it went relatively well. Looking back, the surgery was the easy part. I had no idea then how much support I would need as a patient and how different my life was about to become...”Read more
Carl and his family have been staunch supporters of Brain Tumour Research for many years. Sadly, Carl passed away on 26 March 2019 and we remain enormously grateful for all he helped us to achieve and will continue our fight in his memory.
Manchester pub landlord, Carl Piddington, was fit and healthy with three children, when he discovered one day that he could no longer control his hand. After a massive seizure and subsequent tests, Carl was told that his aggressive brain tumour could end his life within a year. Determined to be a long-term survivor, Carl is now eight years on after diagnosis and facing yet more treatments.
“I know this is terminal. Maybe it will get me, maybe it will be something else, but I’m not going to sit and wait for it. As my dad always used to say, while laying his hands on my shoulders and looking into my eyes: “you are a lion, my son!”
Psychiatric nurse Carol, from Fareham, died just six weeks after her diagnosis with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – a highly aggressive type of tumour – in August 2000. She was 53 and left her two sons Mark and Simon. Now Mark, who studies at Bournemouth University, is determined to help fund the fight into the disease, by taking part in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Wear A Hat Day with his fellow students.Read more
Caroline CroninMarine biologist Caroline Cronin’s biggest wish after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour was to get back to work. There were two things she felt she still wanted to achieve – to get married and have a baby. She defied expectations to achieve both and the family were able to spend precious months at home together before Caroline passed away in October 2013 at the age of 32, leaving her husband Marcus and their six-month-old daughter Florence.
“The few times that Caroline allowed anyone to see her upset about her condition was when she worried about how her illness affected others. We both desperately wanted to be married and felt blessed to have a baby together. The grieving process takes a long time but knowing Caroline was able to do the two things she most wanted makes it a bit easier. We had been through so many very difficult times together and, when Caroline died, I was just grateful that it was as she had wished. I held her hand as she passed away at home. The first thing I did was to hold Florence and, in a way, it meant I didn’t feel as if I had lost Caroline completely as I had our baby.”
Caroline FosterCaroline was initially diagnosed as having depression (which was something she had suffered before) and then a breakdown. Her husband, Andy, first noticed something wrong after Christmas when Caroline just didn’t seem herself, wasn’t focusing on things and wasn’t caring for herself.
By the time Caroline became incontinent, she was assessed by health workers and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where she spent a week before having to leave as the hospital couldn’t provide the level of care she needed - by then she was unable to do anything for herself and even had to be moved with the use of hoists. There had been no improvement in Caroline’s condition, even with medication and therapy.
In August 2014, a CT scan revealed that Cat, aged 36 and the mother of Robert, 15, had a brain tumour. Following surgery and a biopsy, the devastating news came back that the tumour was in fact cancerous – suggestive of a metastatic spread, but, on a positive note, was a grade 2, slow-growing type of tumour. Just a few short months later, with Cat experiencing headaches again, further surgery revealed the earth-shattering reality that the tumour had progressed from grade 2 to grade 4. Cat’s family and friends all rallied round to help and to fundraise, resulting in the setting up of a fundraising group called Cat in a Hat. Tragically, by the spring of 2017, Cat was no longer responding to any treatments available. She passed away on 14th June that year.
“I started to think Cat would beat the brain tumour or, if not, at least keep it at bay for many years due to her strength and positive attitude. I even found that Cat’s brain tumour wasn’t always the last thing I thought about at night or the first thing I thought about when I awoke.”Read more