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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

Steve Lloyd

Husband, father-of-two and West Ham fan Steve Lloyd passed away in September 2015 seven years after being diagnosed with an aggressive and inoperable glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour. He had just turned 40. Steve underwent treatment and retired from work in January 2015 in order to spend as much time as possible with his wife Angela and daughters Bethany, 12, and Chloe, 10. They were at his side when he passed away.

“It makes me very angry to think that this horrible cancer affects so many relatively young people like Steve, who wasn’t even 40 when he was diagnosed. It seems crazy to think that so little investment is made in this area. Where are the cures, where are the medical breakthroughs, where are the clinical trials which could have given us precious extra time?”
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Stuart Neill

For 20-year-old Victoria, the hardest part of losing her Dad was the prospect of spending the rest of her life without him. Stuart Neill, aged 56, fell ill while working in Africa and, after being diagnosed with a type of brain tumour known as a metastatic renal cell carcinoma, sadly never returned home. The father-of-three, who had survived renal cancer in 2013, suffered dreadful complications from his brain surgery in Johannesburg and, tragically, never recovered. Now Victoria’s family are struggling not only with the sudden loss of their Dad but also the financial implications of losing their family’s income.

“The burden of Dad’s death is inconceivable. On top of losing a loving father, we had to sell the family home, belongings and tackle the financial impact of his death. He worked so hard so that mum could stay home and take care of us, however, now there is pressure on Mum to find a job so soon after losing him. We still have to be very careful with money, my brothers and I contribute towards helping us all get by.”

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Stuart Parker

Sadly, Stuart passed away on 10th October 2018. 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.

For police officer Stuart Parker, retirement began in a completely different way to how he had imagined. The 53-year-old was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in December 2017 but despite several disappointments along the way, Stuart is ‘focusing on living’ with his wife Samantha, children and grandchildren.

“The financial implications of Stuart’s diagnosis have been huge. I had to resign from my teaching job to care for Stuart, as such our income halved immediately and we had to cash in our life insurances and downsize our house. We also have to fundraise constantly to enable Stuart to have a good quality of life which has had a huge impact on us; prior to this we were a really private family but now we feel like we’re selling a bit of ourselves to get by.”

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Stuart Piper

Stuart's story was written while he was still with us. Sadly Stuart 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.

Father-of-two Stuart was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour at the age of 37. He has undergone surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but his condition has deteriorated leaving him with mobility problems, trouble with his memory and personality changes.       

“It is so hard for the girls too and we have been open with them about their dad’s diagnosis and treatment all along. When we get back from a hospital appointment we sit round the table, look at the scans and discuss what’s happening. While we know things are going to get worse and we have to be realistic, we are also hopeful that, as he is young and otherwise healthy, Stuart will beat the odds.”

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Sue Thomas

Sue was simply the best, so it was so apt that the Tina Turner track was her signature song.  She loved life and lived it to the full – she was a wonderful wife and mother, an amazing career woman and a committed Christian, devoted to serving God.  Even as the brain tumour took its strangle-hold, she remained determined to give love and encouragement to others, particularly to patients who were going through chemotherapy and radiotherapy just like her.

“Brain tumours take every bit of you, everything shuts down.  Doctors don’t prepare you for this, probably because they are trying to protect you, but I think they need to be more up front.  The tumour took away Sue’s body and mind and part of her personality.  It affected her whole being.  She couldn’t talk or even express how she was feeling.  In the last few weeks the only way I could tell how Sue was feeling was by looking into her eyes – that was our connection, and how we expressed our love.”
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Sunita Nathwani

Mum-of-three Sunita was diagnosed with a type 2 meningioma brain tumour after an eye test at Specsavers. She underwent surgery and treatment but lost her battle less than two years later. Her husband Upin has been left with a void in his life and is comforted by the pride he feels in their talented and beautiful children.

“I have lost my partner in life and growing old without her is scary; such a big void has been left in my heart and in my life. However Nita has left me three amazing, talented and beautiful kids which I am so proud of. I know she is looking down and thinking the same. I can see her in all of them, so I will never have to look at a picture if I feel sad. I see them and I will smile.”
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Susan Blasotta

Susan was diagnosed with ‘lesions on the brain’ in November 2010 and died just six weeks later, aged 42.  As well as being a very special wife, mother-of-two and daughter, Sue was a committed and integral member of her North London, Roman Catholic parish and was always on hand to support, listen and help people in crisis, even when she had problems of her own.

“It was humbling how Sue faced death with such courage – she was truly amazing.  Her most worrying thought was how her family would cope when she had gone – she said: “I have got the easy job, I am going to die – you have got the hard job, carrying on without me.”
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Taylan Rawlinson

Taylan was an incredible boy who was sadly taken away from his family on 19th August 2009 at the age of just seven. He was a special little star full of love, warmth, joy and laughter. Just 10 months before he passed away, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumour located in the brain stem. In January 2010 his family set up a Brain Tumour Research Fundraising Group and founded Taylan's Project  Read more

Timothy Brooks

Doting dad and self-employed internet marketer Timothy Brooks, from Southampton, was just 42 when he died of an aggressive and incurable glioblastoma multiforme. Though his death was a devastating blow to his wife Lesley and their two daughters Kathryn and Jessica, they are able to look back on the fond memories they shared together with a smile. Now Kathryn, 17, is determined to make her dad proud by pursuing a career in biomedical science and being a member of the UK Youth Parliament. Read more

Tom Attwater

Tom stood by his girlfriend Joely when her daughter Kelli was diagnosed with cancer. He set about raising money for life-saving treatment abroad should Kelli need it but within months Tom was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He passed away in September 2015 at his home in the village where he grew up, less than two years after his marriage to Joely and four months after their longed-for son Fletcher was born.

“The most poignant moment on our wedding day was when Tom walked Kelli down the aisle. It was his idea: he wasn’t going to be around to give her away at her own wedding but this was something he could do now. My only regret is that, as the bride, I wasn’t there to see it! We do have some wonderful photos and videos though. We changed Kelli’s surname on that day as we wanted to be together as a proper family although we had no idea just how short-lived that would be.”
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Tom Lubbock

Writer and illustrator Tom Lubbock was chief art critic of the Independent until his death in 2011. Married to artist Marion Coutts and with a son Eugene, Tom lost his life to an aggressive brain tumour aged 53, just over two years after diagnosis. Tom’s book Until Further Notice I am Alive, (Granta, 2012) is a lucid and compelling description of that experience from the inside. After his death Marion went on to publish her acclaimed memoir, The Iceberg. (Atlantic Books, 2014). Read more

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

Tom Pooley

Tom Pooley was a devoted dad, hardworking businessman and well-regarded in the local community. After a series of seizures and inconclusive MRI scans, Tom was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2016. Throughout his illness, Tom continued to work for his business and retained his strength of character, but he sadly died just seven months after his diagnosis in July 2017.   

“In November 2017, I was blessed to give birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ella, who I had been carrying throughout the latter stages of Dad’s illness. Dad was convinced I would have a girl and it’s fitting she looks just like him. Though I am saddened she will never get to meet her grandad, I hope she lives to see the day that there is a cure for brain tumours.”
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Tony Barrow

Tony Barrow made a lasting impact on so many people and his loved ones will always remember him for his happy, larger-than-life personality and infectious energy. Tony loved life and the inspirational dad-of-two wasn’t going to let anything, not even a glioblastoma multiforme, get in his way. From his diagnosis in May 2015, Tony made sure he created precious memories with his family which would last long after his death in March 2017.  Read more

Trudy Shingler

Trudy was a 35 year old forensic psychologist, a wife and mother of three year old Phoenix. On 22nd October 2010, Trudy was officially diagnosed as having a Glioma tumour (specifically, an Anaplastic PXA grade IV).  Less than four months later she passed away. Read more

Valerie Emms

Valerie was a healthy, fit mother of four grown-up children, who enjoyed golf, gardening and walking her dog when she suddenly started to experience a range of symptoms.  Various doctors diagnosed stress and a trapped nerve, but two months later it was discovered that she had a grade IV glioblastoma multiforme.  Her daughter, Helen, was able to accept and come to terms with the fact that her mother was dying and help Valerie on her journey of letting go. 

“My passion for personal development helped me to handle Mum’s diagnosis and accept that her life was going to come to an end very soon.  It also gave me the ability to support someone who was dying without always questioning whether I had done enough, or feeling guilty.  I totally believe that guilt doesn’t change anything – there is no benefit in feeling guilty about what we should or shouldn’t have done, both pre and post diagnosis.  It is guilt, along with other negative energies, such as anger and resentment, which make us feel out of control.” 

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Vince Treherne-Jones

Lorry driver and father of two, Vince Treherne-Jones was initially diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour just weeks after meeting new partner Gwyneth. Vince underwent surgery and treatment but his tumour continued to grow, eventually metastasising to other areas. The pair were married during his treatment and realised their dream of moving to Devon before Vince passed away in January 2015 at the age of 49.

“Throughout it all Vince remained brave and positive even when he was bent over in pain, unable to stand or walk. He died just three years and four months after we met. When he was first diagnosed people said I didn’t really know him and should walk away but I felt that he came into my life for a reason. By the time we married, he was disfigured by the tumour as it grew in his brain and affected his nerves. I didn’t care, all that mattered to me was that he was still alive.”
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Winston Harris

In February 2015, Winston Harris was healthy, happy and planning retirement with his wife. Just five weeks later, he passed away from an aggressive brain tumour. Leaving behind a wife, son and daughter in-law and two grandchildren, life had completely changed for the Harris family suddenly and without warning.

“No one could have prepared us for what we were told next. Following an MRI scan, mum called me to say dad had been diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain tumour. It was shocking to see Dad deteriorate so quickly. It got to the stage where only palliative care was available, which was the hardest part for me.”

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Wynn Humphreys

Proud Welshman, avid football and motorcycle fan, husband and father-of-two Wynn Humphreys was 72 when he died in March 2017. He had been diagnosed with an aggressive Gliobmastoma Multiforme (GBM) brain tumour and, in line with his wishes, his wife and daughters didn’t discuss his prognosis with him, in order for him to enjoy the precious little time he had left.

“In line with his wishes, we never talked to dad about the fact he was dying. It was such a difficult time as we found ourselves not being able to talk about his prognosis in order to shield him from the truth but we went through with it because it was what he wanted. Not being able to talk openly to his friends about dad’s illness was one of the hardest things but we did it out of love for my dad and to respect his wishes.”

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Yashpal Gill

Yashpal Gill died of a brain tumour in 2002 after a very short illness - he was just 50.  He was a self-employed accountant and a very active man.  His death left his wife, Bali, and two sons devastated.  Read more

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