Families bereaved by brain tumours to visit Centre looking for a cure

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Families who know the pain of losing a loved one to a brain tumour will today (1st May) visit our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London, where scientists are leading the way in the search to find a cure for high-grade brain tumours.

Among our supporters who will be given the opportunity to tour the lab, led by principal investigator Professor Silvia Marino, are Helen Pickford, alongside her son James. They will also place three tiles on our Wall of Hope in remembrance of husband and father-of-four John, and his own father, Clive.

John, from Staffordshire, was 49 when he died of a glioblastoma (GBM) in June 2001, just nine months after his diagnosis. The most commonly diagnosed aggressive brain tumour in adults, this devastating type of tumour has an average survival of just 12-18 months. 

John had undergone standard-of-care surgery to remove most of the tumour, as well as gruelling radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment. 

To mark what would have been John’s 70th birthday on 11th June 2022, grandmother-of-11 Helen (top and above with John), jumped out of a plane at 10,000ft, raising £9,342. 

She said: “John never met his 11 grandchildren. He died nearly 23 years ago, just days after his 49th birthday.  

“His own father also died of a brain tumour 36 years previously when John was just 12 years old. 

“We were shocked to discover that the prognosis had barely changed in all that time and that just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002.” 

Also visiting the Centre will be Laura Rose, whose husband Andy died of a GBM in December 2022 and his mother, Pauline Rose.

The pair will hear how their family’s fundraising efforts, which amounts to more than £6,000, will help support the research taking place at the Centre.

Father-of-two Andy was diagnosed in April 2020 after suffering excruciating headaches which were thought to be migraines. Despite surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and private treatment, the tumour took his life in December 2022, leaving his two daughters, Isla and Freya, then 13 and 15, without a father.

Laura and Pauline will place two tiles on our Wall of Hope in memory of Andy and to represent the two days of research – each costing £2,740 to fund – which they have sponsored.

Laura, from Norwich, said: “Sadly, it’s too late for Andy, but I hope the money we’ve donated is life-changing and will help make a difference for everyone going forward who has a brain tumour.”

To find out more about the ways in which you could help to sponsor a day of research, click here.

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