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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

Debbie Hale

Laura, her partner Kev and daughter Eva, are taking part in a Walk of Hope to help find a cure for the disease which took her Mum, Debbie, at the age of 58. Debbie outlived her prognosis but endured the loss of her only son as she struggled to cope with the physical and mental demands of her own illness. At her Mum’s request, Laura underwent radical surgery because she was genetically predisposed to getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The family has been left wondering why treatment options for brain tumours haven’t kept pace with other types of cancer such as those Laura was at risk of.

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Ben Parton

Ben was just 11 when he started to experience symptoms including sickness. A month later he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme and his devastated mum was told he had less than two years to live. He underwent surgery and treatment, but sadly died just eight months later in December 2019. His twin brother Jack was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly afterwards and is now undergoing treatment.

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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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All stories

Dave O'Donoghue

Husband, father, and grandfather, Dave O'Donoghue, was 59 when he was diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour, after suffering from severe headaches. Though he underwent surgery and radiotherapy, Dave sadly passed away less than four months after diagnosis, missing his milestone 60th birthday by a matter of weeks. This year marks 10 years since his passing.

“After what seemed like hours waiting in silence for the consultant to arrive, he came in and did not delay giving the diagnosis. Dad had a grade four glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a very aggressive tumour and it was going to end his life within the next three months. We all sat there in shock at the news we had just heard, trying to piece it all together. My mum fled the room in tears while I just sat there in silence with my dad. His only question was if he would make his 60th birthday on the 13th July. The consultant paused, shook his head and said ‘I’m so sorry’.”

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David Flockhart

Professor of Medicine, Genetics and Pharmacology and Director of the Institute of Personalised Medicine at Indiana University in the USA, David Flockhart devoted his career to pioneering breakthroughs against cancer. 

Having lost his mother and cousin to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumours, it was unfortunate when David found himself battling a GBM, a cancer where he felt that conventional treatment had not changed in 50 years.  Knowing that his prognosis was poor, David wanted to communicate his medical knowledge widely, and through his broadcasting work, let others understand what it was like to live with the devastating effects of a brain tumour before he died.

“My brother was convinced that there had to be a genetic link, or at least a predisposition, to brain tumours in our family.  Three of them, all in my mother’s blood line, diagnosed with GBM.”
 
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David Grant

We are grateful to David who worked with us in October 2013 to share his story here. Sadly, he passed away. We remember David as we continue our work to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research to help find a cure. He will be forever in our hearts.

David Grant was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme grade IV brain tumour in August 2005. He was working as a Senior Project Manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland and married with a two-year-old daughter at the time. David was told he could have just 12 months to live. Fast forward to today: David hasn’t received cancer medication since 2006 and is now watching his daughter growing up.
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David Hetherington

Husband and father-of-two David was just 39 when he died. He was initially diagnosed with a low-grade oligoastrocytoma brain tumour when his wife was 31 weeks pregnant with their first child. He underwent gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy and also had immunotherapy in a bid to arrest the growth of the tumour which over time changed to a grade four glioblastoma. He passed away in November 2016.

“David was dying and there was nothing more which could be done. He had been in 24 hour intensive care and now I was being advised to take him home and care for him myself. How was I to do that? Although he was terminally ill, at 39 David was too young for a nursing home and, ironically, not close enough to death for a hospice.”

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David Kingston

David Kingston sadly passed away on Friday 9th November. We will update his story fully at a more suitable time. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Kim and their family at this very sad time. 

Software sales manager David Kingston was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour nine years ago. He underwent surgery and follow-up treatment and now faces more chemotherapy after his tumour began to regrow, this time designated as high-grade. He is married with two children and endured the loss of his 20-year-old daughter to the genetic condition cystic fibrosis four years ago.

“This is my life, this is the hand I have been dealt and I have to get on and live it as best I can. I am determined not to let my illness define me or rule my life. My wife has been incredible, having always been by my side. Thanks to her, and the amazing group of friends we have, it is overwhelming to feel their constant love and support. With the introduction of social media, one of the sweetest things is when someone gets in touch after 25 years and wants to know how I am coping.”

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David Leatherbarrow

Dave was just 34 and with two daughters aged five and two when he died from an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in January 2015. Previously fit and healthy, his wife Diane felt he was taken away from them bit by bit as radiotherapy and chemotherapy changed him physically and mentally.

“Jessica was just a baby but it was so hard for Charlie and I tried to explain that daddy’s medicine was to blame. It got to the stage where not only was he behaving like someone else, he looked like someone else too. Dave was a big man, 6ft 1ins tall and toned. During his treatment he put on around five stones in weight and ballooned to around 19 stones. He needed all new clothes and even then wasn’t comfortable in anything. Despite this, he was still the person I loved more than anything and it was so hard to see him struggle with the physical and mental changes when, other than be there when he needed me, there was nothing more I could do.”
 
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Dean Wood

Dean was a healthy man who worked hard (up to 60 hours per week) as a builder, and then enjoyed a drink and playing pranks.  He loved his family and was very loyal to his friends – he had the same best friend since the age of seven.  When Dean was 27 he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme grade IV which he fought with so much courage and his indomitable sense of humour; nevertheless he was cruelly taken from us just seven months later. 

“Dean will always remain in our thoughts and in our lives and we talk about him daily.  We don’t want to shy away from the scary parts of this illness; we want everybody to see how brave Dean was.  We, as a family, promise to continue the fight against brain tumours in his honour.”
 
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Debbie Coulson

Debbie was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour just a short while after getting together with her partner Phil Holding, who she met at work. Having private health cover, Debbie underwent surgery and was treated at Harley Street Clinic, but survived just 13 months after diagnosis, passing away seven weeks before her daughter Vicky’s wedding, which she had been so involved in planning.

“Straightaway, I knew what was coming; I recognised the signs from when I lost my mum nine years previously. I checked with a nurse and she confirmed the worst. At 7am I called Debbie’s family and by 9am her brothers and sisters, her son, and mum and dad had all arrived. At midday on 21 July 2018, Debbie passed away, aged 58, with all of us by her side. Sadly, her daughter, who had been away on her ‘hen’ weekend arrived an hour too late.”

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Debbie Hale

Laura, her partner Kev and daughter Eva, are taking part in a Walk of Hope to help find a cure for the disease which took her Mum, Debbie, at the age of 58. Debbie outlived her prognosis but endured the loss of her only son as she struggled to cope with the physical and mental demands of her own illness. At her Mum’s request, Laura underwent radical surgery because she was genetically predisposed to getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The family has been left wondering why treatment options for brain tumours haven’t kept pace with other types of cancer such as those Laura was at risk of.

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Derek Lovatt

Derek Lovatt was a popular Burton Upon Trent photographer whose life was cut short by a brain tumour at the age of 56. Though his death in 2001 left a devastating hole in the hearts of his wife Jennifer and their three children Chris, Ellen and Richard, he created lasting memories for his family to cherish. Ellen, 44, is now taking part in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s On Yer Bike campaign, and through fundraising she ensures her dad’s legacy lives on.

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