Last night was Celebrating You 2023, our third community awards ceremony and our first in-person event since 2018! We held the event at the prestigious Business Design Centre in London, where our shortlisted nominees were able to enjoy a sneak peak of our Time art exhibition before the celebrations got underway.
Celebrating You Awards: And the winners are…
Outstanding Contribution Award
Hal Cruttenden, our host for the evening, kicked off Celebrating You by announcing the recipient of our Outstanding Contribution Award – Sarah Lindsell.
Sarah was CEO of The Charity from 2011 until 2021 and under her stellar leadership, we established ourselves as a global influencer in the field, growing our income from £1.4 million to more than £11 million in 2019-20.
During this time, among many other achievements, Sarah:
- oversaw the development and implementation of our ambitious, beneficiary-led strategy, which has driven outstanding progress towards doubling survival and halving the harm brain tumours have on quality of life
- championed the creation of BRIAN (Brain TumouR Information and Analysis Network), which supports people affected by brain tumours and enables them to share information about their experiences to accelerate research
- took on a key role in the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, established after the death of the former Labour Cabinet Minister, to drive forward improvements in the care and treatment of everyone diagnosed with a brain tumour
- steered The Charity to its 2018 Third Sector Charity of the Year Award.
We’re deeply grateful for Sarah’s inspirational and dedicated leadership over the past decade, which has transformed us into the global force we are today for championing justice, pioneering change, funding research and providing support and hope for those with brain tumours.
Unfortunately, Sarah was unable to join us at the ceremony, so Graham Floyd accepted the award in her place.
Award for Special Recognition
Next, we announced the winner of our Award for Special Recognition – Laura Nuttall.
Laura was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain tumour, in 2018 and was given a prognosis of just one year. In spite of this devastating news, Laura has been resolute in her determination to share the story of her diagnosis and treatment in order to raise vital awareness of brain tumours.
She became one of our key Young Ambassadors, a group of young adults aged 18-25 who help us raise awareness and bring about change for people affected by this disease.
In this role, she touched the hearts and minds of so many, reaching out to offer comfort and hope to people going through a similar diagnosis.
More recently, she took part in the Manchester Pride marches and completed the Great North Run, garnering a huge amount of love and respect across social media for her continued determination and resilience. By her side throughout all of these amazing achievements has been her family – mum Nicola, dad Mark and sister Gracie – whose incredible commitment we also wholeheartedly appreciate.
We want to extend our utmost thanks to the wonderful Laura for always going above and beyond. We’re so grateful for everything she’s done to raise awareness and funds for this unforgiving disease. The courage she has continued to display in the face of adversity is astounding, and she has given so many in our community a voice by sharing her own story so honestly and generously.
Young Fundraiser of the Year
Next, we announced the winner of our Young Fundraiser of the Year award – Will Alexander.
Will, 11, is a remarkable boy whose diagnosis and treatment for a brain tumour during lockdown in 2020 sadly left him unable to walk. Will wanted to take on a challenge to raise money to help others diagnosed with a brain tumour and, as a rugby fan, set himself the goal of walking 70m, the width of a rugby pitch – a monumental distance for Will.
After learning to walk again with crutches, Will successfully completed his walk on 1 May 2022, raising crucial awareness, and more than doubled his original fundraising goal, raising over £10,000 to help us accelerate a cure!
The Viv McBeth Award for Fundraiser of the Year
The final Celebrating You award to be announced before the first break was The Viv McBeth Award for Fundraiser of the Year – John Royden.
More people have walked on the moon than completed the solo swim of Lake Geneva, a whopping 43 miles in length. John, who lost his sister Emma to a brain tumour, aimed to become to eighth person to do so. In a heroic effort, John swam 28 miles in 22 hours before needing to be pulled from the water for safety. He then returned in July 2022 to complete the 43 miles, raising £420,000!
Professional Excellence Awards
Our Professional Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding healthcare professionals that make a difference every day to the lives of people with a brain tumour.
First we announced the winner of the award for outstanding healthcare team – Kings Neuro-oncology team.
The team at Kings have been indispensable over the past two years, particularly during the prolonged period of lockdown. During this tumultuous time, they happily made videos for us, ratified information, answered questions from our community and – amazingly – never said no!
Their can-do attitude has been inspirational and their enthusiasm for all we do has been nothing short of extraordinary.
We then announced the winner of the award for incredible individual working in a clinical setting – Jillian Sokratous.
Jillian has gone above and beyond to support national education for all nurses that work with brain cancer patients through the Tessa Jowell Academy, while also becoming a Nurse Consultant and caring for her patients at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.
She has advocated for our counselling service and has also been part of the eHNA (Holistic Needs Assessment) workshops, with the aim of allowing healthcare professionals and patients to achieve better personalised support, faster.
Influencer of the Year
Next up we announced the winner of our Celebrating You award for Influencer of the Year – Sigourney Bonner.
Sigourney is completing her PhD in Richard Gilbertson’s group at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, developing new models and therapies for supratentorial ependymoma, a rare childhood brain tumour.
Alongside this, she’s not only donated her time by being part of the steering group for our new strategy, but is a key influence for change in the brain tumour community through Black in Cancer: a non-profit organisation she co-founded, which aims to increase the number of Black cancer researchers and bring more awareness about cancer to Black communities.
Change Maker of the Year
The last award before a quick break was our Change Maker of the Year award winner – Heather Dearie.
Heather, who has a brain tumour diagnosis, has advocated for The Charity since 2014. She regularly attends Scottish government workshops to ensure our voice is heard. As part of the Patient Advocate Group for the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce, she met with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and raised points that need to be considered in the next healthcare policy for brain tumour patients.
Unfortunately, Heather was unable to join us on the night, but we presented her with the award at the launch event for our new strategy – Living Longer and Better: 2023-30.
Partnership of the Year
After another quick break (and more time to take in the artwork on display) we moved on to announcing the winner of our Partnership of the Year award – Underbelly.
Ed Bartlam, founder and owner of entertainment company Underbelly, has supported The Charity since losing his little boy, Alfie, to a brain tumour in 2019.
As well as raising spreading awareness of The Charity at their venues in London and Edinburgh, Underbelly’s The Big Brain Tumour Benefit is always a highlight of the year – providing lots of laughs and raising vital funds to accelerate a cure.
Through their tireless fundraising, awareness-raising and brilliant support, Underbelly are changing our community’s lives for the better.
Research Rising Star
Our penultimate award winner was the winner of our Research Rising Star award – Farshad Nassiri.
Farshad is a senior resident in the neurosurgery training program at the University of Toronto and is set to become an independent surgeon-scientist in summer 2023. He has an exceptionally strong research background and, at the time of writing, has authored an unparalleled 86 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
His most significant recent contributions are a liquid biopsy test that can be used to diagnose brain tumours (Nature Medicine), which may help patients avoid high-risk brain surgery; and the first ever pan-molecular characterisation of intracranial meningiomas (Nature). Both these findings have highly significant and long-lasting implications.
Unfortunately, Farshad was unable to join us on the night but we’ve sent his award across the Atlantic to Toronto.
Volunteer of the Year
Our final Celebrating You award of the evening was given to our Volunteer of the Year – Andy Tudor.
A true voice for change, Andy has volunteered in three roles over the past two years, continuously using his lived experience of a brain tumour diagnosis to support others and accelerate
He was instrumental in keeping our online communities a safe space during the pandemic as a peer support volunteer, and, as an Involvement Champion, he’s selflessly given his time to help shape our work and drive us forward towards our goals. If that wasn’t enough, his passion as our podcast co-host shines through as he raises awareness and empowers others to share their stories.
The awards were a success!
We want to thank everyone who made a nomination for Celebrating You 2023 and to everybody who join us yesterday at the awards ceremony. Even though Celebrating You 2023 has finished, we won’t stop celebrating you – the supporters who make our work possible.
Photo credit for all the images below: Nigel R Glasgow.