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In Our Hearts

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years

The diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating for the patient, their family and friends. 

For these people life will never be the same again.

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

Tom McEntee

Tom McEntee, a banker who lived in Epsom, died just two years after his diagnosis with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – a highly aggressive type of tumour – in November 2015, despite enduring several operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He was 67 and left his wife Anne, their three children Niamh, Owen and Colette, and five grandchildren. Read more

Bob Witherspoon

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

Katie Dean

Katie Dean was just six years old when she died of a brain tumour. Her diagnosis came after suffering from terrible headaches, which were dismissed as migraines for several months. Though it’s been 16 years since Katie died in July 2003 her dad Scott, an officer with Staffordshire Police, still remembers losing his darling daughter as if it were yesterday. Read more

All stories

June Irene Pile

Wife, mother and grandmother June Pile passed away less than six months after undergoing surgery for an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In her final weeks she was able to fulfill her dying wish to see her youngest son marry. Sadly, she was taken ill later the same day and passed away a fortnight later at the age of 72.

“As many family members as possible gathered at short notice to witness my brother’s marriage. Mum took pride of place at the front and it was a lovely, moving, and at times funny, ceremony. Afterwards I even caught mum light-heartedly lecturing Steven about looking after his bride and making her happy. Sadly, these were her last audible words. Shortly after she was taken back to her room after suffering a seizure; a nurse explained that the excitement of the day had got the better of her. To see my mum going through this was unbearable and more upsetting than words could ever express.”
Read more

Kate Hickman

Sadly, Kate passed away in May 2018. 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.

Kate Hickman, 35, had been feeling tired and run down for a while, when she suffered a sudden seizure in June 2016. Thanks to the concern and persistence of her friends and husband, she was finally given a brain scan where they discovered a “massive shadow”. Kate went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and her treatment is still ongoing.

“At the moment, my impression is that this next lot of treatment might be enough. I want to stay positive and most of the time I succeed, but some of that is just a front. I certainly have moments of despair… I feel I just have to try and crack on.”
Read more

Katherine Carnegie

Katherine and I met in 1994, we both worked hard in London writing and designing for various glossy magazines. In 2002 we moved to France to bring up our son Milo and daughter Ella. Life was good. Katherine turned out to be a talented travel writer and was receiving commissions back to the UK, much to my chagrin as I was supposed to be the talented writer in the family, and I was busy renovating our home near Nimes, and writing a book. Katherine was incredibly popular in the village, she was beautiful, thoughtful, polite, kind and gracious, and made a huge effort to engage and fit in with village life. Read more

Kathy Bridge

Kathy was 62 and looking forward to enjoying a well-earned retirement when she was diagnosed with a stroke which was later found to be a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour.  Her prognosis was very poor.  She passed away just four months later, but not without an enormous amount of degeneration and suffering.  

 “Losing Mum has left a huge hole in my life and for her to die from a brain tumour was the most horrible way for her to go.  She changed so much both physically and mentally. It was awful watching her deteriorate in this way.  But whilst it was absolutely heart-wrenching to lose the woman I considered my best friend, I would have hated to see her continuing to suffer for any longer.  I feel for anyone who has to go through the agony of a brain tumour.”
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Katie Dean

Katie Dean was just six years old when she died of a brain tumour. Her diagnosis came after suffering from terrible headaches, which were dismissed as migraines for several months. Though it’s been 16 years since Katie died in July 2003 her dad Scott, an officer with Staffordshire Police, still remembers losing his darling daughter as if it were yesterday. Read more

Katrina Durham

Katrina was eventually diagnosed with an Astrocytoma grade III, having experienced seizures for several years – her consultant had been happy just to monitor her.  Eventually, however, despite a craniotomy and chemotherapy, Katrina succumbed to the tumour and passed away at the age of 43.

Here is Katrina’s story…

“Katrina was such a beautiful person – she was gentle and kind, passionate and determined and was so full of love and compassion.  I am just so grateful and privileged to have shared 24 years with someone so unique, extraordinary and amazing, but I miss her terribly. 

Now I want to increase awareness of this terrible disease for which there is no known cure and celebrate Katrina’s life.”
Read more

Leon Lemons

A devoted husband and dad, Leon passed away in January 2018 leaving his wife and their two longed-for children, Colby who was just three and baby Willow, 11 months. Leon and Becky had been together for 11 years and endured the heartbreak of five miscarriages before their children arrived. Now widowed at the age of 28, Becky wants more investment in research into brain tumours to ensure others don’t suffer as she and her family have.

“It's heart-breaking what this devastating disease can do. In the final weeks, Leon was unable to talk, it robbed him of his mobility, and use of his right arm, leaving me to feed him and care for him. It's such a cruel disease and more needs to be done to find a cure as there are too many people going through this. Leon’s mum, his sister and my parents were all there as I lay with my head next to his and held in him my arms as he peacefully took his last breath.”

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Levi Ringer

Levi had been under a consultant all his life for constipation (which we now know was associated with his tumour).  He started having recurring headaches in December 2005 and was waking up in the night to be sick, as well as having dizzy spells.  We were told it was due to migraines, but I was very insistent that the doctor’s didn’t leave it at that without first having a CT scan – how could they know what was really happening inside Levi’s head without looking? Read more

Linda Egginton

Linda Egginton was a selfless sister, auntie and friend. She worked happily as a teaching assistant and volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and as a scribe for the blind, but sadly a glioblastoma multiforme diagnosis came along to devastate her life and the lives of all who knew her. Just three months after her diagnosis, Linda passed away, aged 59 with still so much to live for.

“Within five days, my auntie had reached the end. She had been unable to talk or communicate and didn’t look anything like the woman I knew and loved. I can’t put into words how devastating it was to lose her and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.”

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Linda Insley

After suffering from a seizure in January 2017, 55-year-old Linda Insley was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and given the prognosis that she might live for just 18 months. Determined to fight the disease and remain positive for her family, Linda underwent surgery and treatment. When an MRI scan dashed her hopes and revealed the tumour had returned, Linda and her family turned their hopes to various alternative and homeopathic remedies, including cannabis oil. Sadly, she died on Christmas Eve 2017, leaving husband Richard, their daughters, Charlotte and Rebecca and two young grandchildren.

“The tumour had returned and there was nothing more that could be done and all treatment would be stopped. Being told there is nothing more that could be done for my daughter, who had already fought so hard, left me in a state of desperation.”

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Lola Rice

Lola had been a happy, healthy little girl, excited about her upcoming third birthday, when a sudden bout of sickness struck in 2006. Initially dismissed by doctors as a tummy bug, there seemed no cause for concern. Lola then suffered a seizure and was rushed to hospital by her scared parents, to be told that their darling eldest daughter had a large brain tumour covering the right side of her brain. Despite emergency surgery, Lola died the next morning, just four days after she first became ill.

“When I’m laying the table or counting the girls into the car, I still feel that there’s someone missing. I don’t think that you get over grief like this, maybe you just get better at hiding it but the feelings are always there.”
Read more

Lorna Atkinson

Lorna was diagnosed with an aggressive GBM4 brain tumour in September 2014.  She was an outgoing, healthy lady of 68, who enjoyed playing badminton regularly, going to Zumba and Boxerfit classes and spending time with her two daughters and her grandchildren. She had just moved into a new home with her partner of three and a half years when she was given the devastating news that she had a tumour in her brain.    
 
Here is Lorna’s story as told by her daughter Lisa… 

“Dad died very suddenly in 2009 from a heart attack, which was a massive shock to us all.  In many respects, the way he went was so much better, as he passed away being the same person we had always known him to be.  Mam’s brain tumour changed everything about her; her personality, her appearance, her behaviour; she had changed so much that she was barely recognisable as the same person as before.  Brain cancer is so cruel.” 
Read more

Louis Kenney

In 2004 when Louis was just four years old he was diagnosed with leukaemia.  We had sometimes noticed unexplained bruising and his skin often appeared quite yellow, but the GP had reassured us he was probably slightly jaundiced.  Then Louis collapsed and we took him to A&E where they discovered he had leukaemia. Read more

Louise Black

Louise Black was 42 years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour, back in 2005. Over the next 7 years she underwent brain surgery twice, and received both chemo and radiotherapy to manage the disease. In April 2012, Louise celebrated her birthday and the wedding of her youngest daughter Gina, all the while knowing that her tumour had finally spread. In September 2012, Louise passed away peacefully. She was only 49 years old.

“Mum invited me round for dinner one night. She and my sister had bought bases, sauce and toppings to make their own pizzas. I wondered what the special occasion was, as my mum wasn’t really one for cooking all that much! Whilst I ate, Mum was staring at me, so I asked her what was wrong. We all knew she had been feeling unwell, but when she said the words ‘brain tumour’, I couldn’t even take it in. I looked at my younger sister and her eyes were filled with tears.”

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Louise Edwards

Louise was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour at the end of October 2012 but vowed she would remain positive and fight to survive.  To her friends and even other family members, Louise, who just five years earlier had lost her only sister to breast cancer, had “a lesion” and was going to get better.  Tragically she passed away in December 2014, aged 50, leaving her husband and children, Lucy 14 and Joe 17, heart-broken.
 
"I was lucky to have an understanding boss and work for an organisation  that had clear, supportive and flexible working policies, so I was able to take Louise to all her treatments, apart from one, as long as I made up work time.  I was astounded, however, to meet other people who worked for other organisations, accompanying partners or family members for oncology treatment, who, to appease their bosses, had to get up at 5am to put in the hours, prior to attending an afternoon appointment at the hospital."
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Louise Hudson

Louise Hudson was diagnosed with an astrocytoma brain tumour at the age of 26. She continued to live alone in London near her beloved Camden for a number of years although she became increasingly unwell. During the final weeks of her life, Louise moved into her mother Susan’s home and spent her last days surrounded by friends and relatives with the family cat sleeping beside her. Louise underwent gruelling surgery and radiotherapy and survived a relatively long time before losing her battle ten years after her diagnosis.

“Although she was very ill, Louise was extremely active and it was hard work. After a while, we made up a bed for her downstairs and she was able to enjoy the sunshine, looking out into the garden and sometimes lying outside on a sunbed. The cat took to sleeping on her bed and lots of her friends would visit; sometimes there would be a party atmosphere.”
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Lynn Carter

Lynn worked as a teaching assistant at Epsom & Ewell High School for many years.  She and her daughter, Jade, were very close and used to get together two or three times a week, often to go out for dinner or to the cinema.  In 2012 she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour after displaying changes in personality.  She survived nearly four years after diagnosis, but developed a form of leukaemia, probably as a result of her chemotherapy, which killed her in June 2016.  She was 56.

“The day of the craniotomy coincided with her Mum’s funeral so she obviously missed it.  It was very hard leaving Mum in the hospital to go to Nan’s funeral and very difficult not being able to tell my Granddad the real reason why Mum wasn’t there either.  We told him that Mum was having a routine operation, not that they had found a grade 4 brain tumour.”
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Maggie Harvey

Maggie was a woman who loved life, her job and her family and friends.  She had always lived life to the full until she was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme.   She and her family then felt like they had stepped onto a roller coaster, yet they were determined to make the most of the time Maggie had left.

Here is Maggie’s story….

“Mum’s brain tumour was a big, big shock, which we never saw coming.  Nobody close to me has had cancer, so it was a big learning curve.  We are a very close, small family and I was very close to my Mum.  It was so devastating for my brother, aunt and I and so disappointing that there were no options for her.  Breast cancer research gets lots of funding and there are lots of treatments.  Why can’t the same be true of brain tumours?  I can’t believe that there are no effective treatments, let alone a cure.”
Read more

Mahendra Mehta

Devoted grandfather, father and husband, Mahendra Mehta dedicated his life to his family and charitable causes and was looking forward to retirement when he was unexpectedly diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. He underwent months of gruelling treatments, before lapsing into a coma the day after his 68th birthday. He passed away six days later, just seven months after his diagnosis.

“Papa was always happy and smiling…it was so hard to see his energy and enthusiasm ebb away. During his illness, Papa would say: “I just want to have fun again”.”
Read more

Malcolm (Mac) Fairrington

“One of life’s good guys”. Mac Fairrington, was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma in 2014 after complaining about headaches and a strange smell. He underwent nearly two years of treatment, losing his vision, mobility and independence, but not his spirit nor determination to survive. Mac died aged 67, leaving behind his wife Kath, five children and five grandchildren.

“People talk about peaceful deaths, but he did not go quietly. He fought till that last breath. He never wanted to leave my Mam. They were the love of each other’s lives.”
Read more

Malcolm Hill

Former senior policeman, Malcolm Hill, was making the most of his first grandchildren (Matilda and James) and hobbies during retirement when he began to notice recurring pins and needles and a strange taste in his mouth. After Malcolm’s brain tumour diagnosis in 2013, his family continued to think positively after the initial shock. However, seizures affected his speech until he was barely able to communicate and Malcolm died, with his family around him, in July 2016.

“Dad had been getting pins and needles down one side of his body and experiencing a very strange taste in his mouth. He described the taste as being like the smell of “burnt bodies” and, being a policeman who had seen and smelt all sorts, that was a particularly striking description!”

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Margot McLellan

TV gardener Danny Clarke had already lost two siblings and a parent in quick succession when his beloved sister Margot became ill. The family witnessed her decline over two years following her glioblastoma multiforme diagnosis before she died aged 52, leaving a husband and young daughter.   

“Every now and again we might get a glimpse of the old Margot but, mostly, it was like talking to a child. It struck me that seeing my dad and other siblings die had been very different. Brain tumours steal the person long before their body finally gives up.”

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Mark Cogan

Mark fought and lost a 16 month battle with a brain tumour, leaving his extended family and many friends, particularly from his life as an outstanding martial artist, utterly devastated.

Here is Mark’s story…

“Every minute I looked after you throughout your illness was an honour and a privilege, Mark.  You were an inspiration to all of us as a son, a brother and a father.  Rest in peace, mate.  I miss you.”
Read more

Mark Duffy

At the age of 53, Mark Duffy was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). His family supported him every step of the way but were devastated by how rapidly the tumour took hold. Mark passed away just 11 months after diagnosis and his loved ones are now determined to contribute to a brain tumour cure. Read more

Mark Gash

Out of the blue, Mark had a fit one evening and, following a visit to his local hospital, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  Just three and a half weeks later he passed away.

Here is Mark’s story…

“My only consolation was that Mark wouldn’t have liked to carry on if he couldn’t have lived the life he wanted to lead.”
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Mark George

Mark George would have been 60 this year and was planning lots of good times with his wife Angie for their retirement, involving travel, cycling and motorbike tours. However all those plans and dreams were shattered when he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – a highly aggressive type of tumour. Angela took an early retirement to care for her husband for 18 months, before he passed away in January 2018, aged 59. Despite losing their dad, Mark’s children Olly and Beth, 27 and 25, summoned the strength to conquer the London Marathon in April 2018, raising over £17,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

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Matt Lowther

Matt and Gill moved to Peebles to achieve a better work-life balance and were looking forward to raising their two children in the beautiful Scottish Borders. After collapsing at home, Matt was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with a high-grade and aggressive brain tumour. He underwent surgery and treatment but passed away less than two years later, in March 2016 at the age of 38.

“When our daughter asked ‘Is Daddy going to die?’ I told her that he was and that he had been fighting hard but the doctors couldn’t help him anymore. She ran in to tell her little brother and we all cuddled and cried together. Although Matt knew it was right to tell the children it was so sad and so difficult for him. It’s one thing talking about someone’s death but quite another when you are speaking about your own.”
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Matthew Caine

Matthew Caine was diagnosed with a brain tumour after experiencing blurred vision and migraines, and a biopsy identified the tumour as non-cancerous. Matthew and his family breathed a sigh of relief at the results and he was optimistic as he underwent surgery to remove it. However, during the operation, Matthew tragically suffered a haemorrhage and was placed in an induced coma. Just one week later, his wife, son, parents and sisters said their final goodbyes.

“When a pupil’s poem about Matthew was read at his funeral, I was so moved to hear how much he had helped his students. I knew he was a kind and caring man but to hear it in this poem was incredible.

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Matthew Wright

A pheasant rearer and mechanic in North Yorkshire, Matthew was 25 when first diagnosed with an astrocytoma. Matt battled the tumour twice successfully with craniotomies, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, during which time he proposed to and married his soulmate, Georgina.

After the tumour returned for a third time with a vengeance, Matt was told nothing more could be done and sadly he lost his fight in September 2014 aged only 33.

“Even though there is still no cure at present for Matthew’s type of brain tumour, we were absolutely devastated to be told when the tumour came back this time that there were no more treatments available to try.”
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Michael Shane

After retiring from his job as a council manager Michael Shane devoted his time to caring for others. A volunteer for Age Concern, he went to the centre in Gateshead every Thursday to help entertain and look after elderly residents in the community. He loved to watch football, especially his beloved Newcastle United. He was fun loving, loved to play tricks and always had a smile on his face. However, in November 2015, it was Michael who needed care. Diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), Michael passed away just five months later. Since his death, his daughter Diane, along with her husband, mother, friends and members of SS Fitness club have raised £11,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity in one year. The fundraising has brought together members of her community whose lives have been affected by the disease.

“Dad’s diagnosis was traumatic for us all. Not least because he was the head of the family – he was always the one to look after us and, all of a sudden, the tables had turned. Dad was told he couldn’t drive and, for a man so proud of his independence, that was like losing a limb.”

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