Our high profile supporters
A key aim of our strategy is raising awareness across the board of researchers, policy makers and the general public, thereby driving change towards defeating brain tumours. We could not achieve this without the continued endorsement of our high-profile supporters who work alongside our campaigns, initiatives, our reports and our research.
Broadcaster and presenter
Nicki’s career has spanned the music entertainment industry for years, including her roles as a judge on Pop Idol and Popstars (with the like of Simon Cowell) and as a music PR and agent. She is now TV presenter and a Radio 2 host.
Nicki had a meningioma brain tumour diagnosis in May and had subsequent surgery to remove it. She continues to support the work we do, raising awareness and campaigning for change for everyone affected.
“It’s the initial shock of diagnosis and then the shock when you tell people that can be more distressing. It’s like a slap. When you have to ring people up and tell them, your family, it’s just hideous.
“If you’re having bad days let yourself have bad days. It’s like giving yourself permission, don’t fight against yourself. You say to yourself: ‘tomorrow, it’s still going to be a bad day and I’ve still got this condition but I’m going to find one thing in that day that is good.’”
“I want to do whatever I can do to help raise awareness and help others understand that they’re not alone in this.”
Actress and TV presenter
Loose Women, Wonderbirds and Benidorm star Sherrie feels “driven” to help us raise awareness after her brother, Brett, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in March.
“Brett’s diagnosis has been devastating for the whole family. Out of all the roles I’ve had in the hundreds of years I’ve been in this business, this is the most important role because my brother and I want to raise awareness for The Brain Tumour Charity.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you. You never think it’s going to be part of your family and, when it is, you don’t actually believe it.
“Then it hits home – that it does happen and it is happening.
“We all support each other but some families don’t have that – The Brain Tumour Charity offers support for children and adults.”
Sherrie played Solana manager, Joyce Temple-Savage, on ITV comedy Benidorm and toured the UK for nine months in the spin-off Benidorm – Live! show – and there are rumours it will soon hit the big screen.
She was a popular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women for 14 years and has starred in many TV shows in a career spanning five decades including Coronation Street and Emmerdale and she took part in Celebrity Big Brother in 2015.
Photo by: Julian Hamilton, Sunday People
Acclaimed TV and theatre actor
Sian, an award-winning stage and BBC star, ran the 2019 London Marathon for us to support the work we do and in memory of her wonderful brother Llŷr, who sadly died from a brain tumour in January.
“My brother Llŷr lived with a brain tumour for 14 years and fought a brave fight every day. When we were told in the summer of 2018 that there was no more that could be done for him, I decided I wanted to do something to help the countless other families dealing with this terrible disease.
“I discovered the brilliant work that The Brain Tumour Charity does in research and support for patients and their loved ones, and I am honoured to help them in whatever way I can.
“My brother was a life-force. A man who lived every day of his life with joy, humour and courage. He never let his illness define him or stop him from doing anything he wanted to do and I’m so proud of him. The least I can do is try to help others live their lives in the same way, in Llŷr’s name.”
Sian’s many roles include Emmerdale, the critically acclaimed Welsh crime drama Hinterland , the BAFTA award-winning series 35 Diwrnod for S4C and BBC One/Netflix drama Requiem.
She has also won the BBC London Theatre Award
Award-winning cookery author and entrepreneur, together with her husband Matt Mills.
Ella Mills started off with the popular blog, deliciouslyella.com, which has had over 130 million hits in the last four years.
She recently supported our #UniteOnABike fitness event led by Psycle studios’s Rod Buchanan, living with a brain tumour himself, and attended by others in our community directly affected by brain tumours.
Matt recently ran the 2019 London Marathon for us, raising vital funds and a huge awareness on social media of the work we do.
Deliciously Ella have also contributed some exclusive recipes as part of our newly designed Information Packs for 2019.
“We’re really pleased to be supporting all the brilliant work that The Brain Tumour Charity does. Our family has recently been affected by a brain tumour and we’ve seen first-hand how important the support, research and awareness they offer is.”
Ella’s first book came out in January 2015 and has been the best-selling debut cookbook ever in the UK and a NY Times best seller. She has since released a further three best-selling books, created a #1 app, launched a line of natural beauty products in collaboration with Neal’s Yard Remedies and with her husband, opened a deli in London, as well as launching three food product lines across the UK.
Ella and Matthew recently won the Ernst & Young Rising Star Award at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in London.
Ella is the daughter-in-law of Baroness Tessa Jowell, who galvanised the political community in the House of Lords with her campaign for those affected by brain tumours following her own diagnosis.
Ella and Matt continue to support the vital work we do each day for everyone affected.
Television presenter, producer and author
Philippa champions our HeadSmart early diagnosis campaign following her son Fred’s, brain tumour diagnosis.
“On my husband’s birthday in 2016 we were told that it was likely that our fifteen year old son Fred would die. A moment that will live in my heart forever.”
Philippa’s son Fred started suffering from exhaustion and struggling to concentrate at school back in 2016 but everyone assured her it was normal for a teenager.
However, when persistent headaches kept happening, Philippa sought medical advice: “I took him to the doctor, who said they were migraines, which made perfect sense because that’s what my husband and I both have.”
During the 2016 summer holidays, Fred was still complaining that his computer screen was making his head hurt, something was not right. Another trip to another doctor followed.
“The eye doctor said, ‘I want you to have an MRI scan immediately.”
After arriving at hospital, Fred had a huge seizure
“His whole body went rigid. His eyes went into the back of his head; he was groaning; he smashed his head against the wall. I tried to hold him but I just couldn’t, so my husband ran to get help. We were rushed to an emergency room.”
Fred’s scans revealed a rare PGNT glioma brain tumour. For Fred’s parents, the news was devastating.
Following surgery and regular scans Fred, now 17, has made a good recovery, his resilience shining through.
“Early diagnosis is key. If I hadn’t taken him to the eye doctor we could have lost him. Often the tumour isn’t spotted and the person just dies because there isn’t time to save them.
“We have been incredibly lucky.”
Read the full article here
Footballer and broadcaster
Dominic is a former defender who played for, among others, Liverpool, Leeds and Scotland during a 15-year career and is recovering from a brain tumour diagnosis and surgery.
Last year, in November, he was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour and underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove it.
He champions the work we do for so many others affected and reaches out his support for everything, particularly during the unprecedented times the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our community.
“Living with a brain tumour is tough, but so am I, and so you are you. The Brain Tumour Charity offers a wealth of support in all areas, for which myself my family and many others are eternally grateful.
“Times are a bit scary and uncertain right now, reach out… we will be there.”
Keyboardist for the Kaiser Chiefs
Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines (far left) is the keystone to the world-famous indie rock band and known for never being seen without a hat. Nick’s beloved Dad, Alan, died from a grade 4 glioblastoma in June, just four months after being diagnosed.
Nick has thrown himself behind the work we do, striving for a cure, and lending his considerable support to our social media presence.
Award-wining international actor
In the last, third, series of The Missing, Tchéky Karyo’s detective character, Julien Baptiste, was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The devastating effects of this on his work, the case and his family relationships was expertly portrayed, garnering praise from the brain tumour community and viewers of the hugely successful drama.
The spin off series, Baptiste, achieved one of the BBC’s highest audience ratings for 2019 and Tchéky continues to support our work through social media and with an exclusive interview to press.
Tchéky also featured in our BTAM 2017 campaign and continues to support our work. The French-Turkish actor also supports a French cystic fibrosis charity.
“Best of luck for all the people you fight for.”
The Missing series 2 was one of the highest viewed UK shows of the last year and Tcheky returns to our screens later this year in the spin-off drama, ‘Baptiste’.”
Diver and Olympic medallist
Tom has passionately supported us over many years in our drive to raise awareness and much-needed funds for vital research.
Following his incredible Tokyo Olympic wins, Tom dedicated his Olympic jumper to raising funds for us in memory of his Dad and then took to social media channels including Tik Tok to raise further funds and awareness on the back of his burgeoning knitting brand.
In late 2021 he also fronted our campaign to crowdfund for our Savitex GBM trial, due to start in March 2022.
Tom was also instrumental in supporting our 2.6 Challenge during the COVID-19 crisis. He was part of Team GB’s efforts to help raise vital funds for charities during this difficult time, as one of the 26 Olympians Challenge.
Tom’s dedication to his support for us saw him host a meet ‘n’ greet event in February 2019 with our Young Ambassadors at London’s Olympic Pool and took time to chat and show everyone around his training facilities. The subsequent video of the day was used extensively across our social channels and shared with the national media.
Tom said: “In just one month alone over 800 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumour. I’m honoured to be part of this charity that’s really close to my heart. Together, we can save lives.”
Tom also was instrumental in our hugely successful 2017 BBC Lifeline appeal, raising vital funds for research and greatly spreading awareness of the work we do.
He remains a committed supporter and continues to help us raise our profile via his social media channels and multimedia endorsements.
Read more about Tom’s support, losing his dad to a brain tumour and the importance of continued funds for research here.
Presenter, actress and broadcaster
“I am pleased to support The Brain Tumour Charity’s aims of defeating brain tumours, the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40. Through their fundraising, research and support they are driving real change to tackle this devastating disease.”
Casualty star Jason and his wife Kate, are close friends of Ella’s Fosbury-Hill’s parents. Ella lost her life to a brain tumour in 2013 at the age of 11.
“Ella’s loss was devastating and, as friends, it was hard to watch such a wonderful little girl succumb to such a cruel disease and watch the impact on her family.”
“Working on the Casualty storyline brought back memories of Ella’s devastating diagnosis and the feeling of wanting to believe there is hope – even when there is none.
“I know that more can be done to treat and possibly cure this disease and prevent the awful suffering it causes for those affected and their families.
“Now I am backing The Brain Tumour Charity because I support its mission to defeat brain tumours so that other families are saved the heartache I’ve seen Ella’s family endure.”
Olivia Colman CBE
Oscar winning actress
Olivia supports our work in defeating brain tumours and our drive for more vital funds for research.
Recently acclaimed across global TV and film ceremonies, Olivia continues to pick up awards in her dazzling career.
She was at the forefront of our Brain Tumour Awareness Month, March 2017 and continues to support the research, awareness and support work we do through 2019 and beyond.
Watch Olivia’s message of support for us.
The Charlatans (band)
Together with lead singer Tim Burgess, the band have continued to support us in our aims of raising awareness, support and funds for vital research into brain tumours.
The band’s hugely talented and much-loved drummer, Jon Brookes, died of a brain tumour in 2013.
“When my husband Ross received his diagnosis, our world changed forever. Getting a brain cancer diagnosis is scary, especially when you then hear how little funding goes towards brain cancer research. It’s heartbreaking. You are left feeling no-one is even looking for answers, working out how to cure this deadly disease. How will we ever do that without support.
“That’s why The Brain Tumour Charity’s work is essential. Don’t wait until someone close to you, or even you, is affected by this disease, do your best to support their work now. Together we can have a huge impact.
For people like me, knowing that research is happening, is hope. It’s worth holding out for.”
Ross sadly passed away in July 2017.
Holly continues to be one of our key supporters, using her award-winning social media channels to help us promote our commitment to improving the quality of life for everyone affected.
She was recently nominated as Influencer of the Year in our 2018 celebrating You Awards.
Multi-award winning Art Director
Dillon St.Paul is a multi-award winning Art Director with over 16 years in the media and magazine publishing industry. He is best known for his appearance as one of the more memorable candidates from 2016’s The Apprentice on BBC1.
Dillon was recently diagnosed with a glioma and underwent neurosurgery to have it removed. He wrote a heartfelt and cathartic blog post on his website about his experience which resonated with thousands of our community and went viral.
“I think it’s hugely important to raise more awareness of brain tumours and the implications they can have on patients’ lives – not just from a scientific medical stance but also from a human one.
“I aim to help to create wider understanding of the effects brain surgery and a diagnosis can have on an individual and their families on a emotive level through my own experience.”
Comedian, writer and actor
A long-standing supporter of The Charity, Hal is due to take part in our Sahara Trek in late 2022 and continues to support all our campaigns across his media channels.
Hal was also instrumental in organising The Charity’s comedy night in 2017, selling out The Backyard Club in London and drafting in his comedy legends including Dara O’Briain. He then hosted our second comedy night in 2018, at the Underbelly on the Southbank.
He was also the face of our 2019 Brain Tumour Awareness Month (BTAM), filming two appeal videos.
Hal speaks from the heart about losing his mum to a brain tumour and his continued support for us.
“Watching my Mum decline and battle so bravely through two operations, the radiation and chemotherapy treatments was obviously tough. “On receiving the diagnosis she said, ‘Well, I’ve had a wonderful life’.
“It is unimaginable to me how people cope with such news when it’s delivered to them when they’re a young adult or when it’s about their little child. “That’s why the work that The Brain Tumour Charity do is so important and so inspiring.”
BAFTA-winning TV presenter, naturalist and explorer
Steve is backing our drive to reduce diagnosis times for paediatric brain tumours
“Brain tumours are still woefully underfunded as is the research into them. It’s vital that we get behind the incredibly invaluable work for those who are affected and those who could be in the future.”
Lewis Moody MBE
‘Mad Dog’ Moody, English rugby union player and part of the 2003 World Cup-winning team
“Getting involved with the Family Days through The Brain Tumour Charity has been fantastic on so many levels. Lifting the spirits of families going through challenging times, seeing them be able to communicate, offload and share their stories is humbling and the impact is instant.
You see parents relaxed and supported, along with their children being happy and carefree from the mundane routine of daily medical intervention and worry.
We feel proud to attend them and to support The Charity in all its endeavours.”
Lewis and his wife, Annie, also run The Lewis Moody Foundation, working closely alongside us to raise funds and awareness.
Jonny Wilkinson CBE
Former Rugby Union player, representing England and the British and Irish Lions
“I cannot even begin to imagine what families and individuals go through when confronted with such a disease. The Brain Tumour Charity is inspiring change, a reason to believe and they are providing genuine hope that one day soon it won’t have to be this way.”
Voice actor, Star Wars, Aardman, Scooby-Doo and more
Marc was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1990 aged 18, and helped us launch the Jake animations
A key supporter, Marc has recently appeared at our hugely popular Family Days in 2019, offering support and inspiration to those who came along. He continues to support our strategy.
“My mantra was ‘I am going to get through this and I am going to have an incredible life.’ The intention behind Jake is brilliant and I’m sure he’ll help The Charity’s fantastic work.” Marcsilk.com/ @marcsilk
Lorraine Kelly OBE
Broadcaster, journalist and actress
“Over 800 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumour during the Brain Tumour Awareness Month of March and brain tumours are still the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40. This has to change. I am going to #WearItOut with love on 4 March for all those affected by brain tumours and fully support the great work The Brain Tumour Charity does for this important campaign and others in 2016 and beyond.”
Lorraine recently featured Peter Williams on her prime-time morning show, highlighting and supporting his incredible fundraising challenge. Peter cycled over 200 miles on his seven-year-old daughter Ellie’s tiny bike – her last Christmas gift – in her memory. The route started at Bristol Children’s Hospital where Ellie received treatment and finished a week later at Land’s End and with the help of the publicity of Lorraine’s show, managed to raise over £35,000.
Alastair Stewart OBE
Broadcaster and ITV news presenter
Alastair worked alongside our documentary filmmakers, providing the voiceover and support for our Everest in the Alps fundraising expedition
“It is an honour to be able to work with such a worthwhile Charity and their continuing efforts to tackle this disease.”
Alastair continues to champion our work towards finding a cure and hosted our March 2018 ‘Ask the Researcher’ evening held at Kings College London.
In attendance were leading brain tumour experts from around the world who presented their findings and new developments in treatments to an audience of members of our UK community.
Alastair also continues to use his social media channels to support our key messages.
Actor Owain Arthur portrayed Glen, who has a glioblastoma, in Casualty’s powerful storyline
“Playing Glen gave me an insight into the devastation of being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and the horrific challenges – both physically and emotionally – people face every day. Out of respect to them, I wanted my portrayal to be as accurate and sensitive as possible.
“I have the utmost admiration and respect for people living with a brain tumour who get up every morning, determined to make the most of their day. I’m happy and honoured that playing Glen has helped me to raise awareness about such a cruel disease and this brilliant charity’s mission to defeat it.
“The Brain Tumour Charity’s expertise and crucial advice enabled me to do justice to Glen’s role – I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Film producer, author
In March 2020 sadly, Martino Sclavi died. He was a driving force in much of our work, and a huge advocate for the entire brain tumour community.
He had the most wonderful personality; warm, funny and incredibly passionate about the need for more research and greater support for people affected by brain tumours. He talked openly about his own diagnosis and used his platform to help inspire others facing the same prognosis.
We will all miss him greatly and our thoughts are with his family.
Martino was a long-standing High Profile Supporter of The Charity, championing our drive for research and a figure at many of our events. His book The Finch In My Brain was a huge source of inspiration to others affected, becoming a must-read tale of triumph over treatment and he was loved by our community.
Martino always took time to meet others affected; at our Celebrating You Awards where he was a guest of honour, supporting our comedy nights, or attending our charity events. He was only too happy to reach out with personal contact to those he met and those whose hearts he touched.
Most recently he appeared in an Autumn 2019 documentary supporting Helena Traill’s 100 Stories acclaimed cancer art project and book.
Helena’s mum, Angela, paid tribute to him : “Martino touched our lives through our daughter, whom he helped with her final degree, with his openness about his illness. He inspired her to live each day with less fear about what might happen. Rather as he said, ‘today is a beautiful day!’ You will be sorely missed and we are very lucky that Helena met and spoke to you. You helped her so much. RIP Martino and Thank you for everything.“
Martino will be missed by many.
His loss is a fierce reminder of why we must move further and faster every day in the battle against brain tumours, so that other families do not have to endure this kind of heartbreak in the future.
Martino was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 while working on a movie project in Los Angeles and underwent surgery. Six months later he had another operation in Rome.
Devastatingly, the side effects of this surgery and the tumour drastically affected his ability to read. Martino’s book, documenting this transformation of his life, has recently been published.
He has thrown his considerable support behind the work we do in terms of raising awareness and understanding of brain tumours and their effects on all those affected.
“Six years ago I woke up in a hospital in Los Angeles where I was told that I had 98% chance of dying within 18 months.
“After a second brain operation I realized that I could no longer read the text that I was typing away instinctively.
“So I embraced my computer and started writing The Finch in My Brain, a book about the various adventures of my family and I, trying everything possible to beat these impossible odds. “Given that this battle with cancer is extremely complex, we all need to attack it simultaneously from all sides, scientifically, psychologically, financially, socially and politically.”
Martino’s book The Finch in My Brain is published by Hodder & Stoughton
Younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, author, journalist, and broadcaster.
“I became involved with The Brain Tumour Charity a long time ago, when it was known as the Samantha Dickson Research Trust. My association with the latter arose from an invitation from Samantha’s parents, Neil and Angela, to be part of the charity established in their late daughter’s name: Samantha had died from a brain tumour, aged just 16.
“As the father of several children, I did not hesitate for a second from joining up as one of the charity’s patrons: it was the very least I could do, to show solidarity in the face of tragedy.
“Despite their brilliant efforts, and their undoubted successes, brain tumours remain the number one killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK. “My grandmother died of a brain tumour, in 1972, in her seventies. She was the most lovely lady, dedicating her life to helping others, and recognition of that fact is found in the hospice in nearby Northampton being named ‘Cynthia Spencer’, in her honour.
“While my grandmother lived a full life, others are cut down in their childhood or youth by the same, appalling, disease. In being a patron of The Brain Tumour Charity, I want to show my support for curbing brain tumours’ dark powers, and for turning the tide against a force that has claimed too many young lives.”
The Neales are a four-piece family band and finalists of Britain’s Got Talent 2015. They’ve given The Charity huge support for fundraising and awareness, attending and promoting the likes of our Joseph Foote Ball and The Lewis Moody Foundation and they’re working with us on future 2017/2018 campaigns.
“Having had first-hand experience of the impact a brain tumour can have on a family, we are honoured to support the incredible work the charity does.
“Furthermore, the family values and inspirational attitude demonstrated by so many of the people behind The Brain Tumour Charity makes us proud to continue to help however we can.”
The Neales are made up of father Laurie Neale (62), and brothers James Neale (30), Dan Neale (28) and Phil Neale (26).
A long-term supporter of the charity and having survived two brain tumours himself, Russell has thrown his 2018 ‘Canzoni d’Amore’ tour’s weight behind our work.
Described by the New York Times as a performer “who sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Sinatra”, he subsequently released ten studio albums, each one receiving more critical acclaim than the last.
“Being diagnosed with a brain tumour is devastating for those affected and their loved ones. I’m honoured to support The Brain Tumour Charity; not only do they provide invaluable support for patients and families at the most difficult of times, they actively raise awareness of symptoms to enable quicker diagnosis, and provide essential funding for pioneering research into treatments of this life-threatening illness.”
Sandy Lyle MBE
Scottish championship golfer and media broadcaster
One of Britain’s top golfers in the 1980s, he was made a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. Sandy has supported the charity since, appearing at many charity fundraiser events and advocating on our behalf for the work we do.
“In 1997, Neil and Angela Dickson contacted me asking if I could support the Samantha Dickson Brain trust and, after reading Samantha’s story, it didn’t take me long to become a patron.
“Now, many years later as The Brain Tumour Charity, I am proud to see how much has been achieved but know too how much more is needed.
“Future research together with the support and care for the diagnosed and not to forget bringing awareness all requires continuous funding.
“Golf lost Seve Ballesteros to a brain tumour. He was an Icon, a fierce competitor, a legend and a personal friend of mine. I know he would have wished for every child to get a chance to experience golf. How fitting for me to continue my support.”
Ian 'Chilly' Chillcott
Angler, broadcaster and author
Affectionately known as Chilly, Ian is a star of the angling community, a renowned carp fisherman, acclaimed author and TV commentator, as well as a beacon of inspiration and expertise in the angling community in the UK and internationally.
Chilly was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2017 and has supported the work we do ever since. He also hosts the annual Chilly Chillcott Cup, a Berkshire fishing competition at Holme Grange Fishery each June that brings many of the community together to raise vital funds and awareness.
Professor Richard Gilbertson MD, PhD
Director, Cambridge Cancer Center
“I have spent more than 25 years studying the biology and treatment of children’s brain tumours. Therefore it is both a pleasure and honour to serve one of the world’s largest brain tumour charities as together we seek to fund the most excellent brain tumour research. The SAB plays a critical role in the charity and wider research community, ensuring that we identify and select for funding the highest quality research projects that will have the greatest impact for patients.”
Professor Colin Watts
Clinician Scientist & Hon Consultant Neurosurgeon
Professor Watts specialises in the genomics of glioblastoma (GBM) and in the role of glial progenitors in their evolution and development. His team are also interested in developing patient-specific models of GBM to evaluate intra-tumour variability in genomic and clonal architecture.
They have developed FGMS (Fluorescence-Guided Multiple Sampling) as a unique means of interrogating GBM in real time during surgery. This is coupled with integrated genomic analysis to establish high-resolution molecular genetic characterisation of GBM, enable phylogenetic reconstruction and define clonal organisation of tumours at the level of the individual patient.
Dr Antony Michalski
Paediatric oncologist, Great Ormond Street Hospital
A consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) since 1993, Dr Michalski leads a multi-disciplinary team committed to delivering the best outcomes and patient centred care.
He is Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Central Nervous System Subgroup, promoting research into childhood brain tumours. Dr Michalski has also published 34 papers in peer reviewed journals and has written book chapters and reviews. He holds national grants for research into childhood brain tumours.
He is also a member of The Brain Tumour Charity’s Quality of Life Scientific Advisory Board, the group responsible for the assessment and rating of applications for research funding and makes recommendations to The Charity’s Board of Trustees, and is also a supporter of the Lewis Moody Foundation.
Professor Keyoumars Ashkan
Consultant Neurosurgeon, King’s College Hospital
Prof. Ashkan is the lead for neuro-oncology and the lead for neuroscience commercial clinical trial unit at King’s College Hospital.
He trained at the University of Wales College of Medicine and then completed an intensive general neurosurgical training programme on the South Thames Specialist Registrar rotation, working in several leading units such as King’s College, Atkinson Morley’s and The National Hospitals. Following this, he spent a year of fellowship in France working with Prof Benabid, acknowledged as the founder of modern functional neurosurgery. Prior to his consultant appointment at King’s College Hospital Mr Ashkan was a Senior Lecturer in Functional Neurosurgery and Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Prof. Ashkan is actively involved in research, especially in developing novel treatments for brain tumours and for Parkinson’s disease. He is the deputy lead for neurosciences R&D committee at King’s College Hospital and has published over 220 peer review papers, abstracts and book chapters and is a reviewer for several journals and grant awarding bodies. He is actively involved in training both undergraduate and postgraduate clinical and research students and he sits on the Surgical Training Committee for neurosurgical trainees in London and runs the annual neuro-oncology course at the Royal College of Surgeons.
Sir Colin Brian Blakemore FRS, FMedSci, FBPhS
Professor of Neuroscience and Philosophy at the University of London, and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford.
From 2003-7 Sir Colin was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. He has been actively involved in the public communication of science for more than 30 years. A frequent broadcaster on radio and television, Colin has published a number of books about science for a general readership, and he writes for the national and international media.
“Assessing the impact of the research we fund is of paramount importance as it highlights our wider influence and the progress that we are making towards better diagnostic techniques and new treatments to improve quality of life and survival rates. We could be at an historic turning point for research into brain tumours and this report evidences advances that are being made across the UK. Much of this research shows promise for further investigation and development, and some of the follow-up research is already underway.”
Professor Susan Short
Professor of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology Wellcome Trust
“In my field of brain tumour research, the challenges are particularly tough. I’ve been working with teams at University College London and The University of Leeds on repurposing a drug called hydroxychloroquine, which is licensed to treat arthritis and malaria. Thanks to promising laboratory tests, we think hydroxychloroquine could help brain tumour patients by making their cancer cells more sensitive to radiotherapy treatment.”
Professor Barry Pizer
Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, Alder Hay Hospital
“I am delighted to welcome the results of ‘Losing my Place: The Reality of Childhood with a Brain Tumour‘. In my opinion this is a very important addition to the literature on Central Nervous System Tumours in Children and young people.
As health professionals dealing with patients suffering from brain tumours, our focus is very much on trying to cure our patients and their is a clear risk of losing sight of the effects that a brain tumour has on the everyday lives of patients and their families as they go through the treatment journey and beyond.
“The study is important for patients themselves to appreciate that they are not alone in their problems and may help patients open up to their families and treatment team. In addition, the results of this study should be strongly considered when planning the care of brain tumour sufferers including the provision of optimum support for patients and their families.”
Mr Sorin Bucur MD, MRCS (Ed), FRCS (SN)
Consultant neurosurgeon, Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals, and guest keynote speaker at our 2015 Brighton Information day
“Developments and possible cures will come through research and from the redesign for tumour classification. It’s just a matter of money but discoveries, new treatments and one day hopefully cures will be found. Thank you to your organisation for helping make this possible for every neurological department in this country.”
Dr Paul Brennan BSc (Hons) MB BChir MRCS (Ed), PhD
Senior lecturer in neurosurgery, University of Edinburgh, leading our 2016 Early Diagnosis research.
“Our research aims to understand the reasons why some adult patients take longer than others to be diagnosed with a brain tumour. The team will propose simple guidelines that will help GPs better identify which patients have a brain tumour and hopefully lead to rapid referral to a specialist. This research could transform the lives of brain tumour patients.”
Professor Denise Sheer BSc, BSc(Hons), D.Phil.
Researcher at Queen Mary, University of London
“The way The Brain Tumour Charity funds research is a great example of best practice. The projects are scrutinised thoroughly by independent peer reviewers, which leads to a period of interaction where they suggest ways that the project might be improved. They support innovative research, and this is exactly what the field needs. The Charity is doing a fabulous job of advancing brain tumour research.”
Dr Chris Jones
The Institue of Cancer Research, London
“The impact of The Brain Tumour Charity’s funding over the last 18 months has meant that we have already been able to identify a link between the development of tumours and the mechanisms that control the repair of DNA within the cells. This is a big step forward for us.
Over the coming months we aim to identify newer, safer, less toxic therapies specifically targeted so they spare children from existing toxic or ineffective therapies and improve quality of life.”
Dr Steve Pollard
Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow, The University of Edinburgh
Dr Pollard established his own independent lab in 2010 at the new UCL Cancer Institute, supported by The Brain Tumour Charity (within the Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit).
In 2013 his lab relocated to the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine and he was awarded the prestigious Cancer Research UK Senior Fellowship.
His group is exploiting the latest genome editing technologies that have opened up new opportunities for understanding the biology of glioblastomas (GBM).
Find out more about Dr Pollard’s work
Rob Ritchie, Co-Head of Global Banking UK – HSBC
Rob, whose son Toby has a brain tumour, organised and led the famous Everest In The Alps expedition in 2015 raising over £3 million towards research into low grade paediatric brain tumours.
“As a parent when you face this kind of situation, of having a young child diagnosed with cancer, you feel totally powerless and your world feels like it has spun out of control. Immediately one thinks of all the things you would be prepared to do. Give your body for his, walk to the ends of the earth, climb the highest mountain (and scream to the skies), but none of that works. It can’t be done or makes no sense. It won’t help.
“But then on reflection maybe you can do something, maybe you should climb a mountain – climb Everest or your Everest.
“Everest in the Alps took place in March 2015 in the Swiss resort of Verbier and has raised over £3 million for the Everest Innovation Fund to date. In collaboration with The Brain Tumour Charity, this Fund is seeking a team to achieve something new and climb an Everest for brain tumour research: to initiate an ongoing innovative centre for research into low grade paediatric brain tumours like those that Toby and thousands of other children are diagnosed with.”
John Maynard, Co-founder and former finance director, Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd
“It took some nine months before my young wife, Alison’s symptoms were diagnosed to a malignant brain tumour in 1979, and I find to my surprise that this experience for adults has not changed after almost 40 years.
An eminent brain surgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery has told me that early diagnosis is the most important factor for patient survival and life quality after surgery. The surgical treatment at least has improved, Alison’s tumour grew back soon after the radiotherapy that followed her surgery and her quality of life for the next five years was very poor.
As you may imagine, after five years helping her cope with life after her operation and radiotherapy, beating this illness is close to my heart. Alison’s courage, fortitude, humanity and concern for others during her illness was an inspiration to all who met her, but I frequently felt helpless in the face of this disease.
The Brain Tumour Charity has achieved a great success with its HeadSmart Campaign for children and offers a real opportunity to fight back and make a difference. We can all play our part.”
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