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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.


Anon

You are forever in our hearts.

Recently published stories

Shay Patel

Shay passed away 22 months after his diagnosis with a glioblastoma multiforme. The eldest of their three children, his parents Niki and Deenu weren’t prepared to give up on Shay and did their utmost to find alternative options for his clinical care, going to the United States, as well as Germany. Sadly Shay’s experimental treatment came to an end because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

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Lee Patterson

Lee Patterson, from Whitley Bay, was 51 when he died from a brain tumour in November 2020, after a very short battle with the disease. Lee, the head of a large sixth form college in North Tyneside, left behind his beloved wife Kathy and their three sons William, 23, Thomas, 22 and Michael, 20. 

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Andrew Gardner and Patrick Gardner

Jason Rigby, Director of Fundraising and Supporter Care at Brain Tumour Research, has a very personal reason for working to help find a cure for brain tumours. He lost both his brother and his father to the disease. Jason was just a teenager when he lost his sibling and, some 30 years later, his father died having been diagnosed with the same type of aggressive brain tumour.

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All stories

Charlie Carter-Bates

Charlie 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.”
 
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Charlotte Barber

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.”

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Christine Scott

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.”

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Christopher Todd

Husband, 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.”
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Claire Airzee

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.”

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Claire Hollister

My 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.”
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Clive Gathercole

Husband 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.”
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Colin Burt

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’.

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Colin Shaw


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.”

 
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Collette Drifte

Freelance writer and loving wife Collette had plans for a blissful retirement with her husband of 29 years, Reinhard. However, after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme in August 2016, her dreams of travelling and relaxing were tragically cut short. She faced her illness with optimism and courage, bringing laughter to all those around her, until she sadly passed away at the age of 65 with her husband at her bedside.

I could see that she was drifting away from us and, as she slipped into a coma, the feeling of powerlessness was overwhelming. I had done all I could to help her. I was woken up by the night nurse who told me Collette was about to die. I’m grateful that this allowed me to be with my wonderful wife for one last time.

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