Blog: The uniting of our international brain tumour community

Monday 30 October 2017

Our Policy & Public Affairs Manager, Cameron Miller, on Australia's Cure Brain Cancer AU$100m investment fund

Brain tumours don't care where you live, they don't care how old you are or where you went to school. They have one mission, and that is to destroy the person they decide to unwelcomely invade.

The outcomes, for some types of brain tumours, are ultimately the same no matter what country you receive your diagnosis and treatment in.

Given our advances in technology, engineering and particularly medicine, these are sad facts, especially as the paragraph above could have been written forty years ago and still been as relevant as it is now.

However from this quagmire, a tiny shoot of hope is emerging. The people's voice is being heard, and investment is being made.

Ground-breaking investment

It was announced on Sunday that Australia has launched a AU$100m fund to beat brain tumours. This has been, in no small part, down to the wonderful work that our friends at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation have done in lobbying the government.

The Australian Government will actually contribute AU$50m of the AU$100m over the next ten years.

This comes at a time when in the UK, The Brain Tumour Charity is in the middle of a five year strategy where we will invest £20m across the world in places included Germany, The Netherlands and Australia.

The National Brain Tumour Society (NBTS) in the USA state that they have invested $31m over 244 research grants internationally.

It is because the disease is indiscriminate about the geography of its attack that we have to be indiscriminate in the geography of our fight against it. A global solution must be found to this global disease.

It is only through the community making their voice heard that this investment is finally coming to fruition. They are showing the desired strength, courage and tenacity to make people hear them and make those who can take action. In reality this is a minority issue, most people will fortunately not have their lives touched by a brain tumour diagnosis.

Though what this incredible community have done, is put this issue on the map and raised the much needed money for investment through incredible fundraising and also by holding those who hold substantially larger purse strings to account and asking them to take note of this cause.

United internationally

The NBTS have around 40,000 advocates across the USA and they gather each year to lobby congress about the issues that affect brain tumour patients at their Head to the Hill event.

This year they were represented by 38 states and over 300 people. The Brain Tumour Charity has recently played a key role in the Task & Finish Working Group report on brain tumour research, which is looking at ways of improving the level and impact of research.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation were instrumental in the development of the recent Australian Senate Select Committee in Funding for Research for Low Survival Cancers, and submitted over three hundred pieces of evidence to it.

It's not just research that is now global in its fight either. Our friends at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in Australia, having mentioned our hugely successful HeadSmart campaign, secured an invite for The Brain tumour Charity to give evidence to the Senate Select Committee too. Our Chief Scientific Officer, David Jenkinson, gave evidence and discussed a wide range of issues including our own research.

Future progress

We are so proud of our friends in Australia for the money they have leveraged to help fight this disease. As we are proud of our friends in the USA, as every year they 'Head to the Hill' and make sure that the legislative branch of Government take note.

And through exceptional regional bias, I am proud of our UK community as they help shape our work through our Policy Involvement Group and Campaigns, to ensure that their issues are not ignored. That is why it is not all doom and gloom. Progress is being made.

It may feel like significant progress is a long way away, but we will get there and we will get there quicker by working together because 'A Cure Can't Wait.'