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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.

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. 

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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

All stories

Michelle Inman

Michelle was happily married, running a successful business and looking forward to the birth of her first child. She was struck down at the age of 29 with an undiagnosed high-grade brain tumour which, within hours of any symptoms, claimed her life and that of her baby.

“Michelle’s husband James took the tragic decision to turn off her life support machine so losing his wife, his first child, and all his hopes and dreams for their future. I take consolation from the fact that Michelle had a massive seizure and was unaware of what was happening to her or that she even had a brain tumour. It is unbelievably cruel that she should be snatched away from us in this shocking manner at the age of just 29 when she had so much to look forward to and was the happiest she had ever been. There are no words to describe our loss.”

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Mick Deans

Mick was a wonderful husband and father to his two children, Lily and Harry, who were 18 and 15 respectively when he died. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme in December 2014 after suffering a couple of big seizures.  Sadly, he passed away soon after surgery in August 2016 after suffering a bleed on the brain.

“I want people to know what Mick went through because he kept so many things from everyone.  It’s terrible that people have to go through the torture he did and that there aren’t more effective treatments, let alone a cure.  We have set up the Micky Deans Trust to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research to bring hope to families in the future.”
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Mike and Jenny Parry

Husband and wife Mike and Jenny Parry were both lost to aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumours. Jenny endured the loss of her husband, aged 56, only to be diagnosed with the same tumour type 15 years later. Having seen Mike go through gruelling surgery only to have the tumour grow back almost immediately, Jenny refused treatment.  Instead she spent her final weeks making the most of the time which remained with their daughters Charlotte and Justina. Read more

Mike Bradshaw

Mike's story was written while he was still with us. Sadly Mike passed away in December 2018. We will update his story fully at a more suitable time. Our deepest condolences go out to his family at this very sad time.

Mike, a retired company director and keen fisherman, started to behave strangely and his wife suspected he might have Alzheimer’s. When they pushed the GP for a scan, they were shocked to find that Mike, then 62, actually had a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4).

“I like to think that the fact that the tumour hasn’t grown is a lot down to my positive attitude. I also take a raft of non-prescription supplements which are said to be effective for brain tumours, including essiac capsules (a blend of herbs and natural ingredients), hemp oil, frankincense, turmeric and lemongrass. I don’t want to stop taking any of them in case I stop taking the one which is really doing me good!”

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Mike Dandy

Mike and Eithne were happily married for 31 years and had two children, Peter and Eleanor.  Mike had recently sold his company and they were looking forward to a long retirement together.  Then Mike was diagnosed with a grade IV astrocytoma and was given a prognosis of just eight weeks.  

Here is Mike’s story…

"In memory of Mike - Peter, Eleanor and I have set up the dandy trust, an umbrella group under Brain Tumour Research, with our mission being to strive for early diagnosis.  So often the warning signs are missed because people don’t know enough about brain tumours.  Health professionals  need to be better educated so that patients get referred at the earliest opportunity."
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Mike Mason

Mike was diagnosed very dramatically in August 2007.  He was still playing football, but was experiencing a sensation of numbness in his left foot, which made it difficult to put his shoe on.  This numbness then spread to his leg and his left-hand side, causing him to collapse.

He went to hospital and within one day he was diagnosed.  A week later he was operated on and a biopsy was performed.  We were stunned to find that the tumour was grace IV and that it was incurable.  We could not believe it.  Mike was a very positive person and refused to accept that he was going to die.
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Monika Haftmann

Monika Haftmann was a nurse and care worker and was married with grown-up daughter. She was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour and died ten months later at the age of 56.

“Alongside her conventional treatment, mum tried things like homeopathy, I encouraged her to change her diet and she even had injections of snake venom. There were times when I thought the stress and worry I had caused her had contributed to the illness but I know in my heart that is not the case; the fact is that no-one knows what causes brain tumours and there is no cure.”

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Naseem Pishvaie

Destined for a bright future as a performer, Naseem Pishvaie battled with an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour for three years. She first became ill just a year after following her dream by attending a school for the performing arts. In the difficult times that followed she managed to keep her sense of humour and remained positive. She died in 2009, just a few weeks short of what would have been her 22nd birthday. 

“My daughter was always beautiful and remarkable but the depth of her beauty was never more apparent than in the courage with which she faced her illness. To battle such a serious illness and treatment with its undesirable side effects showed tremendous bravery, dignity and determination. We have been told that she was an inspiration to the patients she knew at the hospice day centre which she attended weekly.”
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Neville Holt

Neville was a loving husband and proud father and grandfather of two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.  Once his brain tumour was finally diagnosed, he survived barely another 14 weeks, yet his GP had insisted his symptoms were down to a mild stroke.  He was physically very fit, enjoyed his garden and walked regularly. Read more

Ng Tin Kau

Ray’s father was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme in 2007 and given a prognosis of just a few months, yet for nearly a year he defied the doctors’ predictions and made spectacular progress until the tumour returned with a vengeance and he lost his battle.

Here is Ng Tin Kau’s story…

“Since being adopted that six month period spent with my [biological] dad was the longest we had spent together.  It brings back memories of great happiness, whilst also being so incredibly traumatic.”
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Nick Cotton

Nick was a loving and intelligent man with a great sense of humour, who loved life.  He had only been married six months when he was diagnosed with an aggressive anaplastic oligodendroglioma brain tumour.  Less than 10 months later, at the age of 30, Nick passed away, having exhausted all known treatments. Read more

Nicki Waterman

Nicki Waterman, one of the UK's foremost fitness experts and The Sun columnist, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumour in 2015. Pioneering immunotherapy treatment prolonged her life and she was able to see her son marry and spend time with her precious grandchildren, before rapidly declining. Nicki died in August 2016, just 15 months after her diagnosis, leaving her family and friends heartbroken.

“We thought our Mummy was invincible, my brother Harry and I. She was always incredibly fit and healthy with so much energy... Brain tumours like hers are too aggressive; they just don’t have enough new, effective treatments to offer patients.”
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Nigel Balsdon

Plumber Nigel was buried on his 57th birthday, leaving behind his wife, Anita, and their four children. Just one year before, the couple had been celebrating Nigel apparently beating four brain tumours by renewing their wedding vows on a “holiday of a lifetime” cruise. He died 37 months after being diagnosed with several grade four glioblastoma multiforme.

“To look at the person you love and see such shock and horror in their face… it’s not something I ever want to see again… Each day was stomach-churningly horrible. I stayed with him after he died, talking to him and crying.”

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Nigel Barber

Nigel passed away in June 2013, two years after being diagnosed with an aggressive grade IV glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour. Prior to his diagnosis, he was fit and living a busy life as a husband and father of two sons, now aged 31 and 26, working as a ‘rocket scientist’, and enjoying sailing on the south coast. Read more

Nigel Legg

Father-of-two Nigel Legg was enjoying life and when he started to experience problems with his balance, hearing and eyesight. After numerous trips to doctors Nigel was finally referred for a CT scan where it was revealed he had a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a very aggressive form of brain tumour, and given the prognosis of 14 months. Sadly, Nigel died just six weeks later, leaving behind his wife Juliet and sons Michael and Jamie.

“When the results came in that Nigel had a brain tumour my heart stopped beating. They explained that they would need to do a biopsy to get a formal diagnosis. But we both knew it was serious.”

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Oli Hilsdon

Sadly, Oli passed away on 6th January 2019. This story was written before his passing but will be updated fully at a time appropriate for his family to whom we send our sincerest condolences.

Oli grew up in Buckingham, attending Bourton Meadow Primary and the Royal Latin Grammar School.  He was a keen member of Buckingham Rugby Club and enjoyed running to keep fit. Oli left the Latin with A’ levels in Maths, Further Maths and Economics and then went on to Cambridge University to study Economics, where he was also able to continue playing rugby.  He now works for Blackstone, an American Private Equity company in London.
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Oscar Long

Primary school pupil Oscar was just six when he was taken ill. Within days he was diagnosed with an incurable and untreatable diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) brain tumour. Diagnosed at half term, he never made it back to school, but died at home a fortnight later surrounded by those he loved.

“Oscar had a brain tumour. It was aggressive and incurable. There wasn’t even any treatment which would have given us more time. We should take him home and make the most of the precious days we had left. Our precious boy never even made it back to school. He died in November 2002, just two weeks after his diagnosis. He was six.”

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Pam Delome

Pam was the proud mother of four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She used to go out to the US for six months over the winter every year to visit her sons and daughter who lived there and it was on one of these visits that her daughter first became aware of certain personality changes.  Eventually Pam was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme grade IV.  She passed away just over a year later in 2011 Read more

Pamela Kinnersley

When mum-of-two Pamela Kinnersley was struck down with what appeared to be an ear infection in May 2014, she thought she was just under the weather. However further tests and scans revealed something more sinister. She had a grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive type of brain tumour. Unsuitable for surgery and adamant she didn’t want radiotherapy, Pamela chose to live her life to the full for as long as she could. Unfortunately, she died just three months later at the age of 56, leaving behind her husband, two children and two grandchildren.

“When the consultant came a few hours later to talk through her CT scans, my suspicions were confirmed. He explained she had suffered a bleed on her brain from a tumour and the neuro-oncologists at the nearby James Cook Hospital would be able to speak to us about the next steps. Though the formal diagnosis hadn’t been said, I think we all knew then that this was serious.”

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Pamela Rawnsley

Jeweller and silversmith Pamela Rawnsley was struck down with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour and died at the age of 62, 99 days after diagnosis. Widely considered to be at the height of her creative powers with much more to give, Pamela’s work was inspired largely by a reaction to places and she loved the wildness of the landscape and the weather in the Brecon Beacons where she lived and worked.

“Brain tumours, it seems, are a unique enemy. They appear to be unprovoked. They can be dissembling, insidious, masters of disguise. Their forces come in a complex variety of forms. When attacked, they can retaliate at once with sometimes overwhelming power. They move fast, often unpredictably. They are equipped with impressive layers of armour. They pick out children. They have terrible weapons that we struggle to match. Their numbers are growing. Doesn’t it shame us that we fail to meet this unique enemy on equal terms?” 
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Paul Daniels

“It is important to me to share Paul’s story because I want to help other people. Paul was one of those people who genuinely lit up a room when he walked in and I want people to know how this cruel disease stripped him of everything within a few short weeks to the point where he collapsed on the bathroom floor and I held him as he wept and asked me what was happening to him." Read more

Paul Emsley

Paul was a fitness instructor and personal trainer who focused on rehabilitating cancer and cardiac patients. He was also a gorgeous husband to Julie. In April 2017 he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme grade 4 (GBM). Less than a year later, Paul passed away. Julie will never get over his loss. He was only 54 years old and had so much to do and look forward to.

“There is growing evidence that brain tumours are on the increase and the type of tumour Paul had is progressively hitting a younger age group. Life expectancy and quality of life are particularly viciously compromised by GBMs.”

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Paul Halfpenny

Paul was just starting out on married life when he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour, which later became malignant.  His courage and determination to leave a lasting legacy for others diagnosed with brain tumours saw him raising tens of thousands of pounds to fund vital research to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure.

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Paul Mills

Paul was enjoying life with his family in Singapore. With a great career and a busy social life, they were living their dreams. But within months he was diagnosed with a grade IV glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour. He passed away 20 months later leaving wife Emma and young son Thomas. Read more

Paul Mitchell

Paul was a loving husband and father of four year old John James when he was diagnosed with possible depression in 2001.  Instinctively his wife knew that this was not the correct diagnosis, but she never expected that the underlying cause of his illness was a brain tumour which was to take his life in just 18 months. Read more

Paul Richardson

Paul Richardson, a popular and much-loved policeman, was diagnosed with an inoperable anaplastic astrocytoma at the age of 45 – the same disease which killed his dad 13 years previously. He was booked in for radiotherapy but sadly he died before his treatment began. More than a decade later, Paul’s memory lives on as strong as ever with his wife Jill, children Helen and Mark, and granddaughters Megan and Freya.

“It’s been a long time since Dad died but it can still feel so raw. I miss him the most when I think about all the parts of my life that I won’t be able to share with him… The disease has robbed us of so many memories.”

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Paul Van-Zandvliet

Sadly, Paul passed away in June 2017. This story was written before his passing but will be updated fully at a time appropriate for his family to whom we send our sincerest condolences.

A well-known former member of the rugby world and a key player in the Newcastle Falcons Premiership-winning team of 1998, Paul, 49, is taking on the fight of his life. Having been diagnosed with three types of cancer, the North Shields father of five is now focusing on spending quality time with his family, fundraising and raising awareness.

“You can’t imagine how my family and I felt on discovering that I had three types of cancer, having gone to the hospital just to have my back pain assessed.”
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Paula Wassenaar

When Ingrid Wassenaar’s mum, Paula, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, she never underestimated the hardship that would ensue. However, the shocking realisation that an individual’s financial situation, good or bad, determines their end-of-life care soon added to her heartbreak.

“We were still reeling from Mum’s diagnosis and prognosis, when we found ourselves standing in hospital corridors, being told there was no possibility of a hospice place for our mother. Her financial situation meant that the only NHS hospice in the area was not available to her. Instead, she was left with no option but to go to a non-specialised nursing home, paying huge fees. We knew that a hospice would have been better placed to meet her needs, but it simply wasn’t available.”

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Penny Rowland

Penny and I met in 2004 – she was a lovely-looking lady and an excellent dancer. We had lots of fun going to dance classes together until, following her diagnosis with a brain tumour in 2009, she went on to experience dizziness and had to stop.

Early in 2015 Penny started to have mobility problems, which by October 2016 had become particularly pronounced. The last year was a nightmare as we looked everywhere to find a way to extend Penny’s life. In the end there was no more treatment available and she passed away.

“It is disturbing that there aren’t more potential drugs in clinical trials – brain tumour patients generally don’t have any time to waste, yet palliative care and support is very costly. I am passionate that we need to do significantly more to stop patients getting to this stage because the lives of whole families and their friends are completely devastated while they wait for the inevitable to happen.”

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Peter Barltrop

Pete was an electronic engineer working for BT, a loving husband and a proud father of two grown-up daughters – Alice and Emma.  A gentle, kind and fun-loving man, he would do anything for “his girls”.  Following a series of seizures, a bleed on the brain and subsequent surgery, Pete was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM4).

“Whilst it is a mystery how Pete died, and whilst cancer and its rigorous treatment most certainly had some part to play, we are all glad that he didn’t die of the tumour.  I tell myself that we have been blessed.  Even though at 60 Pete was very young to die, we were saved from the inevitable slow and agonising process, which sadly so many brain tumour patients have to endure.”

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