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
Mother-of-two, Samantha from Cowbridge in South Wales had a seizure out-of-the-blue in October 2021. She was given anti-seizure medication and doctors thought she may have encephalitis. An MRI scan confirmed a large lesion deep in her brain and she was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma. The family-of-four sought a second opinion only to be told the chance of Samantha surviving more than two years were slim. She died in December 2022.Read more
The Leavey family battled tooth and nail to prolong their daughter’s life after she was diagnosed with a diffuse midline-glioma (commonly known as DIPG) at the age of just 10. Brooke, who lived in Southampton, was given the devastating news after she developed a droop on one side of her face. She had six weeks of radiotherapy through the NHS and took part in two privately funded clinical trials. Throughout their daughter’s diagnosis the family spent £200,000 on monthly trips to New York and Germany where the clinical trials were taking place. However, the aggressiveness of the cancer took over and Brooke died 11 months later.Read more
Mike Hawthorn from Ashford, Surrey, was 26 years old when a routine eye test revealed a brain tumour in 2014. He endured numerous surgeries as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After exhausting the NHS standard of care he had some success with the drug Avastin, which had to be privately funded. Mike lived with his meningioma for nearly eight years, and during that time he and his wife Emily had a baby boy, Edison. But the tumour suddenly regrew in April 2021, and pushed through his skull onto the outside of his head. After suffering infections and a tripling in the size of the tumour, which pushed the mass down into his neck, Mike died in July 2022.
Arthur BoydArthur 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.”
Ashley ShameliAshley 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.”
Father-of-three Asmat Chaudry was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in April 2013 after suffering a seizure at home and losing feeling in his left side. He had been experiencing some forgetfulness in the weeks prior but was otherwise a fit and active 74-year-old. He underwent brain surgery and radiotherapy but died 15 months later, during the most sacred days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.Read more
Atif was a loving father and husband and at the pinnacle of his career at a prestigious London law firm when he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour, dying two years later. Now his wife finds comfort in the fact that Atif has left his legacy in both of their daughters.Read more
Aurora ProvenzanoAurora 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.
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.
We are grateful to Baljit and his daughter, Simran, who worked with us in July 2022 to share his story here. Sadly, he passed away in March 2023. We remember Baljit 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.
Baljit Mehat, a successful businessman and father-of four from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October 2021 after becoming shaky and confused on his way to a football match. The 58-year-old underwent a craniotomy in November and a biopsy revealed that his tumour is a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In January he started taking a drug called AZD1390 in combination with radiotherapy as part of a clinical trial.Read more
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.”Read more
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
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.”Read more