Shayen Patel (known to all as Shay), the inspiration behind our Member Charity Shay’s Smiles, would have been 15 today – 21st January. Shay was a talented footballer and a massive fan of Chelsea FC. To mark his birthday, a number of schools and businesses across Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, are ‘Wearing it Blue’ in his honour.
His mum, Niki said: “It’s lovely that Shay’s birthday is being marked in this positive way, and especially at Shay’s school Bedford Modern, attended by many of Shay’s friends and by his younger brother Dylan.”
Shay passed away on 1st September 2020, aged 13, less than two years after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour. Despite pioneering treatments abroad after he had exhausted all options available in the UK, nothing could save Shay.
While he was alive, Shay, who wanted to help other families with children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, began planning to set up Shay’s Smiles along with his family.
The charity is helping children and their families access specialist doctors and healthcare facilities, while funding vital research to help find a cure for brain tumours.
Brain Tumour Research is indebted to Shay’s Smiles for its investment of £143,657 into glioblastoma multiforme research at its Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London. A PhD researcher is currently being recruited, funded by Shay’s Smiles over a four-year period, who will work in an established team focused on developing new treatment strategies to inhibit the progression of GBM brain tumours.
Niki added: “During Shay’s journey, we met so many patients, including children, with GBM, many of whom have since passed. There will be no change and no hope without more funding for research. We can’t let another 10 years go by, destroying families and taking more and more young children from their parents.”
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