“I wish our son, DD, was still here to help make the family Christmas cake.”
A huge thank you to everyone who donated to our Winter Appeal!
You raised £147,000, which includes donations from The Big Give Christmas Challenge, to help fund more pioneering projects, discover better treatments and improve quality of life for everyone affected. Together, we can find a cure faster.
We’re leading the field of research into brain tumours and, with your support, we’ve committed over £52 million to world-class research to date.
Among other things, you’ve helped us:
Because of brain tumours, many people’s wishes will sadly never come true. Click the images below to read some of our supporters’ wishes and find out why continued funding for research is so important to them.
This year, as they do every year, Sacha Langton-Gilks and her family will be making a Christmas cake using their family recipe. Sacha’s son, DD, used to love overseeing this festive tradition, but because of his brain tumour, he’s no longer here to share in that joy.
In 2007, DD was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, the most common type of cancerous brain tumour in children, aged just 11. Because the tumour was discovered so late, he had to endure 22 months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiotherapy and 11 brain tumour operations - along with endless complications along the way. And he developed full dementia before he died, which might not have happened if the tumour had been caught earlier.
Sacha says: “For our family, DD’s legacy is raising awareness of the symptoms of this disease and putting more money into world-class research so we can we stop other parents going through the same heartbreak. The Brain Tumour Charity’s HeadSmart campaign, which has helped halve diagnosis times in children, arose out of research funded by The Charity. So just think what else we can achieve if we all join together!”
Elena Hardy was a professional ballet dancer for over twenty years. In 2014, she began to have agonising headaches. “My head was sore to the point that I was taking pain killers constantly. I was always tired and had to seriously cut down on my dancing. The constant battle with the pain left me emotionally drained and I couldn't cope with even small daily tasks.”
In May 2015, the headaches got worse and she began to vomit. “It was at that point I thought to myself, there is something not right here.” After taking herself to A&E, Elena was diagnosed with a meningioma. “All I can remember is the expression on the face of the A&E consultant when she said, ‘I'm sorry, Elena, you have a brain tumour’. The news felt like a bomb exploding.”
Every year, over 11,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour – that’s 30 a day – and many of them have their careers or dreams cut short by this devastating disease. By donating to our Winter Appeal, you can help us drive research to find a cure and improve the lives of others affected.
Namrata Pandya’s son, Khushil, dreamed of becoming a zoologist. “Khushil’s love of learning was phenomenal and he treasured his collection of wildlife books. He wanted to help animals on the verge of extinction. I wish he could have had that chance.”
Khushil was diagnosed with a type of brain tumour called a DIPG at the age of just 12. “It was the biggest shock of our lives. DIPG has no cure – the doctor said Khushil probably had six to nine months to live. But our cheeky little boy lived for two and a half years, and he lived them to the full, leaving a legacy of positivity that’s inspired everyone around him.
“There's been ongoing research into these tumours, but more is urgently needed if we’re going to find a cure. The only way to advance progress and discover more effective treatments is to raise the funds that researchers need. If we all join together, we can make a real difference and stop other parents from losing their own rising stars.”
Sally Bramall’s daughter, Lizzie, was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour, called a DIPG, in February 2018 after two weeks of symptoms including double vision and balance problems. Lizzie died nine months later, just a few days before her 10th birthday.
Sally says: “Lizzie’s greatest passion was baking. I have photos of her at the age of two, sitting on the kitchen floor with a bowl and a wooden spoon. After her brain tumour diagnosis, baking became a huge comfort to her. She held a bake sale at school in support of The Brain Tumour Charity, which inspired her to write a recipe book to raise more funds and share her passion.
“Just before Lizzie died, we were able to show her the first published copy of her book, Keep Baking. We promised we’d continue what she had started. Lizzie should have been baking for so many more birthdays. That’s why we’re as determined as she was to help find a cure for this awful disease, so that other families don’t face a loss like ours. Every donation to The Brain Tumour Charity’s Winter Appeal will help keep our pledge to Lizzie.”
Jeannette Bolt’s son, Alex, was just 15 when he woke up one morning with a numb arm. Soon after, he lost sensation in his leg. “I knew then that something was seriously wrong,” remembers Jeannette. An MRI scan showed a large mass on the right-hand side of his brain, and the family was given the devastating news that it was a high grade (cancerous) glioma.
“Alex was mad about cricket. He competed for his school and took a hat-trick of wickets. He was fun-loving, kind, witty and intelligent – and I was so proud to be his mum. He faced a gruelling course of treatment with determination, humour and grace – never once complaining. He didn’t let his illness stop him from doing the things he wanted to do.
“I can’t bear the thought of other families having to go through the heartbreak we went through with Alex. If there had been more research around when he was ill, maybe things would have been different. Alex always believed that brain tumours could be beaten. I know that if we all come together to raise funds for research, they will be.”
Jordan Toms is one of our former Young Ambassadors. In March 2015, just before the end of his final year at Bournemouth University, he suffered a seizure. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with an oligoastrocytoma. “The year after my diagnosis is a blur. I think in the early stage you are in survival mode just reacting and taking each step as it comes.”
He had an operation to remove 90% of the tumour, which left him with diminished strength in his left-hand side. Undeterred, he threw all his energy into his rehabilitation, learning how to walk, training at the gym every day, and even how to talk and hold a fork again. But due to his diagnosis, he had to give up his driving licence and is still not permitted to drive.
By supporting our appeal this winter, you can help us accelerate a cure so that people like Jordan can get their freedom back. “I no longer have the independence to get around that I had before. I’d just like to be able to pick up my grandpa and take him to his favourite café, and not have to figure out taxis and money and timings. You lose all flexibility when you can’t drive.”