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
Daniel Payne, of Brackley, Northamptonshire, had already been treated for testicular cancer when, in 2006, at the age of 22, he was diagnosed with an incurable grade 2 astrocytoma. During his 13-year-long battle with the disease, he not only faced testicular cancer a second time but underwent four brain surgeries, developing an abscess and a serious infection as a result. The last three months of his life were the most difficult as his tumour progressed to a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and he lost control of his body, ultimately deciding he did not want to continue with treatment. He died at home by his loving wife’s side on 23 December 2019.Read more
Riley Gregersen, from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, died from a high-grade brain tumour when he was just nine years old. Riley’s symptoms, which included a tremor in his arm, were initially put down to stress. Just before the first COVID-19 lockdown, his parents Gemma and Scott were given the devastating news that their son had a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Riley underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but eventually his treatment options ran out. He spent the final weeks of his life in a children’s hospice and died on 31 August 2021, with his adoring mom Gemma by his side. Gemma is working with Brain Tumour Research to help raise awareness of this devastating disease, which robbed her of her only child.Read more
Roger Harvey was a fit and active 78-year-old who showed no signs of illness before collapsing suddenly at home in mid-January. He had a bleed on his brain which was later found to be caused by a high-grade glioma. Sadly, his tumour was so aggressive that treatment was not possible and he died in an Ipswich hospital four weeks later. COVID-19 restrictions prevented his family from visiting him until his final days.Read more
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
Charlie Carter-BatesCharlie was six years old when he was finally diagnosed with a GBM4 brain tumour after months of “migraines” accompanied sometimes with projectile vomiting and instances of eye pain. His parents were told that his chance of survival was 25%, although they later found out that it was a lot less.
“The day of the scan was the day our lives changed forever and was the worst day of our lives so far… I remember the feeling of utter despair. I can’t even explain the feeling – it was the most horrendous pain.”
Charlotte Barber defied the odds, living for 29 years after her brain tumour diagnosis when she had been given a 30% chance of surviving past the age of 13. She underwent treatment, which was cutting-edge for its time, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the late 80s, paving the way for future patients, and was part of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Despite overcoming many hurdles and learning to live with the debilitating side effects of the disease, Charlotte sadly died on 17th May 2018 at the age of 37. Her mum Julie reflects on Charlotte’s journey and her desire to contribute to research in Charlotte’s memory.
“Her consultant has since told us that Charlotte was a pathfinder and a hero, and those undergoing treatment today owed her a great deal. She was a hero and my heart burst with pride to hear someone else say it. Her childhood was taken away from her by this cruel disease but she never once complained and that smile never faltered.”Read more
Christine Scott was diagnosed with a low-grade oligodendroglioma in 2011. Her prognosis was good and, despite epilepsy, she continued with a normal life – even continuing to ride her beloved horses. After five years however, the tumour became aggressive and even though she underwent surgery and treatment, Christine deteriorated. She died in 2018, aged 58, leaving her husband, five children, a granddaughter of less than one year, two horses and a dog.
“Over the course of the year, she went from walking normally to relying on a walking stick to a Zimmer frame to a wheelchair. Determined as ever, Christine had kept trying to ride throughout all of this – even if it was just sitting on the horses while being led around a paddock – but in summer 2017 she had to stop. Although she dealt with her illness fairly well, not being able to ride was extremely difficult for her.”Read more
Christopher ToddHusband, father, and grandfather, Christopher Todd was 63 when he was diagnosed with an aggressive grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour after suffering violent headaches and stroke-like symptoms. As he underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy his daughter Vicky set about raising funding for research to help get him better. With the support of his family, Christopher fought his illness but passed away in hospital in November 2016 at the age of 65.
“When dad was diagnosed I just couldn’t understand how this could happen. How can so many people have brain tumours yet so little be known? I was flabbergasted to learn that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet receive so little funding. How can it be right that just 1% of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease? I cannot sit by and let this happen so I set about fundraising for Brain Tumour Research to help my dad get better.”
As a great-great grandmother, Claire’s pride and joy was her family and, aged 84, she was still able to drive, cook and care for friends and relatives. But, in November 2017, she suffered a seizure. Diagnosed with several brain tumours, her illness had irreversible effects on her personality and towards the end of her life she wasn’t even able to recognise her children. Since losing her mum, Claire’s daughter Amanda has fundraised for the Brain Tumour Research charity, and she is determined to raise awareness of how dreadful the disease can be.
“When Mum was discharged from hospital, it was horrible to see how badly the tumours affected her. She could no longer do the things she loved; she didn’t read, she struggled to make a cup of tea, and, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t even put letters in the boxes of her daily crossword. Her whole life was turned upside down.”Read more
Claire HollisterMy darling daughter, Claire, had her life cut short by a brain tumour - the very same disease which had killed my sister, Valerie, 10 years previously. Claire was just 30 years old when she passed away, just 14 months after diagnosis with a grade IV gliosarcoma.
“It was at this point I realised the “small lump” must be life threatening. It all felt so unreal - to go from everything being so normal and then there we were looking this deadly disease in the eye.”