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
William lived in Pinner with his mum Helen, dad Craig and sister Harriet. Shockingly, he was diagnosed as a five-year-old with a high-grade medulloblastoma brain tumour and underwent surgery and treatment, but the cancer returned again when he was 13. At 16 it had spread to his spine. William passed away in August 2017, aged 17, with his family by his side. They have since set up The William Low Trust, a Member Charity of Brain Tumour Research, to help fight the battle against brain tumours.Read more
Talented artist and bass player, Thomas MacIntyre-Valentine, from West Yorkshire, was just 30 years old when he lost his life to a brainstem glioma. Thomas, who was married to Sheira, lived with his brain tumour for eight years but when it started to spread in February 2020, he declined quickly. As she continues to come to terms with the loss of her loved one, Sheira is hoping to make a difference and remember him by setting up a Fundraising Group in his name.Read more
Steve Dixon, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, was a fit and healthy 57-year-old, who enjoyed playing golf and football, when, in March 2019, his life was turned upside down by a brain tumour diagnosis. Steve’s tumour was an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The BT Openreach engineer and grandfather-of-three had radiotherapy, chemotherapy and two brain surgeries but eventually, his treatment options ran out. He died on 9 January 2021, aged 59, leaving his family devastated.Read more
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.”
Clive GathercoleHusband and father of four boys, Clive Gathercole was eventually diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumour after suffering months of health problems. He died in August 2012.
“In my anger I thought about complaining about the terrible care we received and the problems with securing a proper diagnosis, but I am not sure looking back at the past negatively is helpful, so instead as a family we are forging ahead with our fundraising plans to fund more research into brain tumours. I would hate to think of other families facing what we have been through, and think the lack of awareness of this disease is a tragedy in its own right.”
Colin Burt, from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, was 49 when he died from a brain tumour he had bravely fought for five years. Colin was happily married to Fiona and together they enjoyed a life full of love, travel and music. Colin underwent two brain surgeries and several courses of radiotherapy before his treatment options eventually ran out. He died at home in August 2019, leaving his 43-year-old wife Fiona heartbroken and facing the rest of her life without her ‘soulmate’.Read more
Passionate flat-green bowler Colin Shaw was 69 years old and 11 years into his retirement when he collapsed unexpectedly. Initially thinking it was a reaction to malaria tablets taken in preparation for a forthcoming holiday, he and his wife were shocked to learn that he had an aggressive grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour.
With a second tumour discovered nine months later, Colin lost his fight only 18 months after the first diagnosis, with his family all around him.
“If there is such a thing as a perfect death, Colin had it. We were all there, me and our three daughters, when he quietly slipped away.”