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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

Samantha Edwards

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.

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Brooke Leavey

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.

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Mike Hawthorn

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.

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All stories

Brian Rockell

Brain's story was written while he was still with us. Sadly Brian passed away at the end of November 2018. We will update his story fully at a more suitable time. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Fay and their family at this immeasurably sad time.

Brian Rockell has worked within the healthcare industry for decades, yet when he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, aged 68, he was shocked by the distressing experience of brain tumour patients. Although facing his own anxieties and challenges, Brian is now determined to campaign for and support others affected by this devastating disease.

“I was transferred to the Royal Sussex County Hospital for surgery…. and it went relatively well. Looking back, the surgery was the easy part. I had no idea then how much support I would need as a patient and how different my life was about to become...”

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Briar Butler

Briar Butler from Kendal in Cumbria, was just 30 when, in June 2018, she received the devastating news that she had an incurable brain tumour. Her diagnosis came after years of suffering from debilitating mental health problems. Briar, a trainee accountant and keen pole dancer, underwent surgery to debulk the tumour and several more operations after she developed infections in her skull. The mum-of-one spent the final few months of her life in a care home, which meant she was unable to see her loved ones when restrictions were imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Briar died on 17 August 2021, leaving her four sisters, her mum Beverley and her six-year-old Noah devastated.   

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Brooke Leavey

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.

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Callum Elliott

Oxfordshire toddler, Callum Elliott was just 20 months when he was diagnosed with an anaplastic ependymoma after a family member noticed a constant tilt of his head. After initially being given medication for wry neck, concerned mum, Zoe Elliott, re-visited the doctors and was referred to the John Radcliffe Hospital where further tests revealed the devastating news of a tumour on Callum’s brain. He had three operations, encountering complications during his diagnosis including a tracheostomy, and recovering from meningitis, staphylococcus aureus and sepsis. After undergoing only five out of 35 rounds of gruelling chemotherapy, and radiotherapy treatment, Callum’s tumour became too aggressive and he died on 9 January 2017, aged four, in a hospice with Zoe by his side

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Carl Piddington

Carl and his family have been staunch supporters of Brain Tumour Research for many years. Sadly, Carl passed away on 26 March 2019 and we remain enormously grateful for all he helped us to achieve and will continue our fight in his memory.

Manchester pub landlord, Carl Piddington, was fit and healthy with three children, when he discovered one day that he could no longer control his hand. After a massive seizure and subsequent tests, Carl was told that his aggressive brain tumour could end his life within a year. Determined to be a long-term survivor, Carl is now eight years on after diagnosis and facing yet more treatments.

 “I know this is terminal. Maybe it will get me, maybe it will be something else, but I’m not going to sit and wait for it. As my dad always used to say, while laying his hands on my shoulders and looking into my eyes: “you are a lion, my son!”

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Carol Cooper

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.

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Carol Hayes

We are grateful to Carol who worked with us in July 2018 to share her story here. Sadly, she passed away in September 2022. We remember Carol as we continue our work to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research to help find a cure. She will be forever in our hearts.

When Carol Hayes was sent to A&E in February 2018, she expected the worst and sadly her fear became reality. It was a brain tumour that had been causing her constant headaches and affecting her vision. The 56-year-old is still trying to come to the terms with her diagnosis but she remains positive as she undergoes six months of chemotherapy.

“Shortly after, my worst fears were confirmed: I had a brain tumour. It was like a truck had hit me in the chest but somehow the news just didn’t sink in… Nothing can prepare you to hear that, and even though I’d been worried I had a brain tumour, I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.”
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Caroline Cronin

Marine 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.”
 
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Caroline Foster

Caroline 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.  
 
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Cat Anderson

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.”

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