Family and friends abseil the ArcelorMittal Orbit one year on from mum-of-two’s death

2 min read

Marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Rachel Bridger, who died the day after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, family and friends have abseiled the UK’s tallest sculpture to raise over £2,000 for Brain Tumour Research.

Gareth Bridger and Stuart Brown, Rachel’s husband and brother, took on the challenge of abseiling down the ArcelorMittal Orbit on 19th May with two of Rachel’s friends, Laura Dabbs, from Northchapel, and Simon Greet, from Midhurst. The ArcelorMittal Orbit stands at 114.5 metres tall, in London’s Queen Elizabeth Park and was a landmark for London’s 2012 Olympic Games.

Rachel, age 36, from Bognor Regis, began complaining about painful headaches in March 2017. In May 2017, Rachel experienced two seizures, one of which sent her into a coma and resulted in her being put on life support. It was only then that Rachel was diagnosed with a glioblastoma – a highly aggressive brain tumour – and, tragically, the next day Rachel passed away. Rachel, who worked as a healthcare assistant at Petworth Cottage Nursing home, left behind her two young children Ollie and Lily, alongside her husband.

Gareth said: “It was a big challenge to complete the abseil but something myself, Stuart, Laura and Simon were honoured to do for this important cause. We wanted to raise money for Brain Tumour Research with the hope that other people will not have to go through what Rachel did. It is only by raising funds into the research into brain tumours that there is hope of a cure. Ultimately, it would be incredible if, when my kids are adults, there is a cure to this awful disease.”

Laura, who is 28, said: “It was so awful to see Rachel and her family suffer, and there are so many other families that have to go through the same. Rachel was such an amazing friend and her loss was truly devastating. I was inspired to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research to prevent others suffering the way that Rachel and her family did. The abseil was a huge success and it was great to see so many people supporting us and raising money for this great charity.”

Janice Wright, Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age, at any time. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer – and they kill more women under 35 than breast cancer – yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this fight devastating disease.

“We are extremely grateful to Laura, Gareth, Stuart and Simon, and are pleased they had such a successful event. We hope they have inspired others to consider holding their own events, helping us to spread the word about this terrible disease.”

The money raised will go towards the pioneering charity Brain Tumour Research which funds a network of dedicated Centres of Excellence where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

Make a donation to Brain Tumour Research via Laura’s Just Giving page.

For further information, please contact:

Annie Slinn at Brain Tumour Research on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or

Notes to Editors

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK focused on funding sustainable research to find a cure for brain tumours. We have established a game-changing network of world-class Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. Embracing passionate member charities nationwide, over £6 million was raised towards research and support during 2017.

We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia. The unprecedented success of our 2015 petition led to the 2016 Westminster Hall debate and Brain Tumour Research taking a leading role in the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research with the report being published in 2018.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • They kill more children than leukaemia
  • They kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
  • They kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease
  • In the UK 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Incidences of, and deaths from, brain tumours are increasing.

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website including our latest Report on National Research Funding. We can also provide case-studies and research expertise for media.

Back to Press