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The Harriet Downing Fund

#harryshelpers are raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity

£160,233.26 funds raised so far

Harry's Helpers

Our older sister and bestest friend was diagnosed with a primary high-grade brain tumour at the beginning of May 2017 at just 27 years old. After Harry's surgery to remove part of the tumour, she faced six and a half weeks of daily chemo and radiotherapy with such fierce bravery and positivity. Following this, she then endured further chemotherapy for another six months.

In February 2018 we celebrated Harry’s 28th birthday and end of chemotherapy with the news that there was no evidence of tumour in the brain and she went back to work and started to live a normal life again.

Around six months later Harry noticed a lump in her neck. Being alert to these kind of symptoms having been through treatment so recently she booked an appointment at the GP who told her it was probably a reactive lymph node due to the recent treatment she went through. As primary brain tumours rarely spread outside the Central Nervous System (CNS), we hoped this might be the case.

However, after a subsequent routine check up with her Oncologist and more tests, including an operation to remove a lymph node for testing, it was confirmed two days before Christmas that the medulloblastoma had spread to the lymph nodes in her neck.

In January 2019, Harry underwent a left neck dissection where they removed 160 lymph nodes from her neck. Her PET scan following this showed the cancer had spread elsewhere and she has since been on a number of chemotherapies to keep the cancer at bay.

In June 2020 we had the news every cancer patient and their family and friends dread. The treatment wasn’t working anymore. Harry is now undergoing a stem cell transplant, which will be one of very few for patients with her tumour. She has completed phase 1 where they harvested 4 million stem cells, and is currently undergoing high dose chemotherapy before starting phase 2.

In true Harry style, she has remained decidedly upbeat over the past few years which has in turn kept all of us more positive too. We initially decided to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity in order to focus our energy on something positive and help others going through this. We couldn't believe the lack of funding for research into brain tumours and we hope that the money we raise will go in some way to helping develop new treatments and fund support for those affected.

In order to raise money our wonderful family and friends (#harryshelpers) participated in a series of events and agreed to run, cycle, bake, drink, sing and generally be awesome in order to help this amazing cause. Below is a list of the events we have held so far.

  • Henry, Lucy and Louisa have hosted three carol services at All Saints Church in Fulham
  • The Downing Family have hosted two summer rounders tournaments and raffles
  • Charlie, Emily and Dave ran the Worthing triathlon
  • Celia ran the Hexham half marathon
  • Harri hosted a treasure hunt/pub crawl in London
  • Charlie and Jack ran the Hvar half marathon
  • Alex and Euan cycled the Manchester 100
  • Nicky, Jess and Ollie ran the Royal Parks half marathon
  • Lizzie and Katherine ran the Wimbledon half marathon
  • Nicola, Enneka and Harri hosted a prosecco and bake sale
  • Angus, Izzy and Lorna ran the Robin Hood half marathon
  • Lots of family and friends took part in the Windsor Twilight walk
  • Izzy ran the Hackney half marathon
  • George and Juliet hosted and performed at a charity gig
  • The Downing Family hosted a Black Tie Charity Auction
  • Harry has hosted wine tasting events both in person and virtually
  • The Downing Family hosted a second hand clothes sale

The Brain Tumour Charity has become close to our hearts and we are planning many more events over the next few years in order to help raise more money for research as well as awareness for this terrible disease.