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Who made the Celebrating You 2023 shortlists?

Check out our shortlist announcement to find out who’ll be competing for the prizes at our Celebrating You 2023 Awards.

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The Brain Tumour Charity is at the forefront of the fight to defeat brain tumours, making a difference every day to the lives of people who’ve been diagnosed with a brain tumour and their loved ones.

But we couldn’t do this alone. And we don’t.

We’re supported at every step by a committed and passionate community – from those who raise money or raise their voices for change, to those making a vital impact in the clinic or lab.

Our community awards event, Celebrating You, is all about celebrating and recognising those who’ve gone even further above and beyond in helping to accelerate a cure for brain tumours.

With over 275 incredible nominations this year, our judges have found it more difficult than ever to choose our shortlists and everybody who was nominated has our deepest thanks for everything they do for those affected by a brain tumour.

Change Maker Award

Anna is an amazing local councillor who’s been extending HeadSmart in Lancashire in memory of her son, Tim. She successfully put forward a motion last year for Lancashire County Council to promote HeadSmart in the region and take broader action on brain tumours, securing the front page of the Lancashire Post and getting Preston City Council to promote the campaign on social media in the process!

Heather, who has a brain tumour diagnosis, has bravely supported and advocated for The Charity since 2014. She regularly volunteers to attend 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 important points that the Scottish government needs to consider when it plans healthcare policy for brain tumour patients.

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We know it’s incredibly powerful for MPs to hear from people who’ve been affected by brain tumours – so we were extremely grateful to Phillipa for attending the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cancer in July 2022 to speak about her experiences of diagnosis, care and treatment in memory of her husband. Phillipa shared her story and raised some crucial talking points around early diagnosis, personalised care, the workforce and tackling inequalities.

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Since Sacha’s son DD was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007, she has campaigned tirelessly for The Brain Tumour Charity. She has continually gone above and beyond, raising her voice for change in so many ways – from lobbying at a Westminster Hall debate on brain tumours in children, to spreading awareness of HeadSmart – now Better Safe Than Tumour – among schools, GP surgeries, health visitors and councils.

·       Annabel Jones
·       Lauren Nicholls
·       Madison Bayfield
·       Sandy Kennedy

Influencer of the Year

Dave is the founder of Ahead of the Game Foundation, a charity that aims to improve health and wellbeing for people with brain tumours or other terminal illnesses. He himself was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014, when, during his recovery, he identified a gap in the NHS for free rehabilitation. Since then, he’s fought tirelessly to drive progress – he regularly gives talks to professional bodies to raise awareness, campaigns for change and is a voice for so many people, selflessly giving his time and energy to support others and create a step-change in brain tumour care. 

Hayley has long been an outstanding ambassador and champion of The Charity’s goals. She set up The Matthew Smith Fund after her husband was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2016 and has since gone on to raise over £60,000 alongside sharing her and Matt’s story and raising awareness. Since losing Matt last year, Hayley has continued her relentless efforts to drive change, from spreading the word on social media and speaking out at events, to fundraising, taking part in press and media activities and promoting our vital work. 

Sigourney is completing her PhD in Richard Gilbertson’s group at the CRUK 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.

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·       Heather Dearie
·       Holly Worswick
·       Jane Copland
·       Jane Park
·       Joel Domett
·       Kaz Melvin
·       Kelsey Parker
·       Laura Nuttall
·       Lyla O’Donovan
·       Martin Williams
·       Max Balch
·       Scott McQuade
·       Simone Baldwin
·       Simon Kindleysides

Partnership of the Year

We simply couldn’t do what we do without our exceptional partnership with Bluecube Technology Solutions. Bluecube have provided us with IT solutions and support for an incredible ten years. Their superb support for us now equates to over £1.1 million, enabling us to launch some of our most pioneering projects. They’ve also supported a number of our appeals over the years, most notably the appeal for our very promising cannabinoid trial, as well as helping us seamlessly transition to working from home during the pandemic, allowing us to continue to be there for our community when they needed us most.

Chris Paton, Managing Director at Quirk Solutions, and his staff provided outstanding pro-bono work to The Charity for our ’What If?’ strategy day in June 2022. Chris, who’s been affected by a brain tumour himself, worked with us to create, lead and facilitate the strategy day, which brought together individuals from across the community to generate radical solutions to defeating brain tumours. Thanks to Chris’s amazing work, the output of the day was truly invaluable in shaping our new strategy!

Ed Bartiam, founder and owner of live entertainment company Underbelly, has supported The Charity since sadly losing his little boy, Alfie, to a brain tumour in 2019. Through their tireless fundraising, awareness-raising and brilliant support, Underbelly are changing our community’s lives for the better – whether that’s by hosting fund-raising festivals, involving celebrities in our cause, or committing to fund research into transformative therapies for children with brain tumours.

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·       Allports Group
·       Graeme Hilditch
·       Runningman Two

Professional Excellence Award – Individual

Ellie is incredibly passionate about improving Allied Health Professional-led services for people with brain cancer nationally, through collaborative learning and networking. She is a major driver of the Tessa Jowell Academy, sitting on both the Founding Committee and AHP Faculty. She also leads a national Awake Craniotomy group for physios and, with her team, has hosted sessions with multiple centres to support them in improving their rehabilitation services for people with brain cancer.

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 Clatterbridge. She has advocated for our counselling service and has also been part of the eHNA (Holistic Needs Assessment) workshops, with the aim of allowing HCPs and patients to achieve better personalised support, faster. 

Neuro-oncology research nurse Paolo has worked tirelessly over the last year to drive ideas for nurse-led education through the Tessa Jowell Academy. He has developed and shared multiple resources for centres to improve their patient engagement in feedback surveys, but also engaged centres in sharing their clinical trial information nationally. If that wasn’t enough, he has been a guest speaker at The Charity team day, given input into the eHNA, worked with us on resources and pushed to improve patient feedback through BRIAN. 

·       Professor Katie Bushby 
·       Kathereena Kurian

Professional Excellence Award – 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. 

The Leeds AHP team are exceptionally collaborative, with boundless energy, innovative spirit and enthusiasm to share learnings with their peers. They’ve hosted sessions with multiple centres through the Tessa Jowell Academy to share information on their services and support other centres to tackle gaps in rehabilitation for brain cancer patients. 

Research Rising Star

Ameeta, whose aunt was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2017, has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment through her crucial work on a Charity-funded project to develop a core outcome set (COS) for use in glioma trials. In part, COSs aim to ensure outcomes capture things that matter to stakeholders – particularly those with lived experience. Alongside colleagues, Ameeta plans to apply for further funding from The Charity to take this work forward by validating the COS for use in routine care. 

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 characterization of intracranial meningiomas (Nature). Both these findings have highly significant and long-lasting implications.

Linda M. Liau is a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Her primary research interest is the treatment of glioblastomas, taking findings from bench to bedside to discover new and more effective treatments. Her latest phase III clinical trial has had truly astonishing results, suggesting that the novel treatment DCVax®-L can prolong the lives of people diagnosed with new or recurrent glioblastoma by nearly three months – an exceptional stride towards helping those diagnosed with a brain tumour live longer and better lives.

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The Award for Special Recognition

The Celebrating You 2023 Award for Special Recognition was awarded to Laura Nuttall, a long-time supporter of The Charity and a former Young Ambassador. Although her tenure as Young Ambassador has come to end, Laura’s commitment to the cause has remained as strong as ever.

By generously sharing her story in national and regional press over the past two years, Laura has been a powerful voice for change and an inspirational figure for many young people diagnosed with a glioblastoma.

Despite four brain surgeries (three since April 2021!), countless trips to Germany for treatment and further chemotherapy, Laura has achieved so much in the last two years, including completing the Great North Run, presenting the weather on BBC news, organising a The Brain Tumour Charity team to march at Manchester Pride and returning to university to graduate with a 2:1 in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

The Viv McBeth Award for Fundraiser of the Year

The intrepid AJ trekked the Southern Upland Way in the summer of 2022 in memory of his late wife Anneka. She passed away from a brain tumour in 2019 aged just 33 – and was a new mum to daughter Sienna (now four years old) at the time. AJ’s expedition was extraordinary and raised over £40,000 for The Charity – a giant stride forward in our mission to defeat brain tumours!

Holly lost her father, the footballer, manager and avid horse racing fan, Glenn Roeder, to a brain tumour in 2021. She decided to mark her dad’s passing and celebrate his life with a very special hospitality day at Newmarket Racecourse in July 2022, during the race season. The inaugural Glenn Roeder Race Day was a roaring success and brought in a whopping £162,000, as well as raising crucial awareness. 

Young Ambassador Jeremy is a true inspiration and his passion and dedication to raising funds for us and campaigning for change have left us all in awe. After losing his dad to a brain tumour and his mum to MND just months apart, his epic ‘Tour De Full English’ challenge saw him bike all over the UK in search of the nation’s best breakfast – raising a fantastic £37,500 in the process!

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 an amazing and 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 a staggering £420,000 in Emma’s memory – a truly exceptional and committed fundraiser!

Find out more

·       Alice Russel
·       Andrew Jowitt
·       Aniella Jennings
·       Caroline Scott
·       Charlotte Jackson
·       Daniel Bolton
·       Danny Tyers
·       Emma Cooper
·       Gabrielle Haywood
·       Garry Sibley-Gough
·       Gary Rose
·       Gavin Creech
·       Hayley Smoth
·       Jade Storey
·       Jamie McColl
·       John Donaldson
·       Jonathan White
·       Joshua and Oli Krishnikan
·       Laura Usher
·       Lauren Loan
·       Lucy Jackson
·       Mandy, Cal & Ali McIntosh
·       Michelle Brady
·       Namrata Pandya
·       Neha Gulsin
·       Robyn Towns
·       Sally Brammal
·       Scott McQuade
·       Shaun Hudson
·       Sheila Jordan
·       Simon Kindleysides
·       Simon Leifer
·       Tom McKee
·       Vicky Carr
·       William Larkin
·       Win D’cruz

Volunteer of the Year

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 progress. 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. 

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Nicola lost her brother to a glioblastoma and wanted to give back after her positive experience of being supported by us. Nicola gave an amazing four hours every Thursday morning to answer support calls as a triage volunteer, before moving into our counselling team to help establish our pilot counselling service – even volunteering on her birthday! Her kind, empathic and reassuring way of speaking with people going through such difficult times has made a huge difference and helped so many individuals feel less alone. 

Rebecca was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a teenager and left with lifelong health conditions, but this hasn’t stopped her unwavering dedication to volunteering for us around her full-time job and supporting other young adults with a diagnosis. As a Young Ambassador in 2021-22 and a member of the steering committee helping to shape our new strategy, she’s donated her time in so many wonderful ways, from speaking at a team day and presenting at a conference to attending focus groups, fundraising and sharing her story – the list goes on! 

·       Andrew Davies
·       Anita Line
·       Anna Blyszko
·       Carol Cochrane
·       Chandos Green
·       Clare Normand
·       Craig Turnbull
·       Debi Oliver
·       Eileen Parker
·       Gabrielle Haywood
·       Holly Worswich
·       Jane Holloway
·       Karen & Lee Parkhurst
·       Katharine Honey
·       Keely Scanlon
·       Lewis Wilson
·       Michael John Huggins
·       Namrata Pandya
·       Patrik Gallagher
·       Pooja Raberu
·       Ravi Adelekan
·       Rebecca Niven
·       Rebecca Taylor
·       Seren Evans
·       Team Wolfpack
·       Tom and Kelsey Parker
·       Vera Barrett
·       Vicky Carr
·       Victoria Laila Neill
·       Wilfrid Edward Taylor
·       Zoya Kaunain Fathima

Young Fundraiser of the Year

Emily chose to fundraise for us after her cousin passed away from a brain tumour in 2021, aged 29, leaving behind his wife and two children. He was the brightest light for Emily’s family and, in his memory, she undertook a mammoth 29km walk over two days to mark his 29 years. This extraordinary endeavour was a huge commitment for Emily, requiring relentless training leading up to the event, and her incredible efforts paid off with an amazing £6,189 raised to help accelerate a cure! Emily is a true inspiration and hopes to do a yearly walk to raise more funds going forward. 

Ravi, seven, was diagnosed with a benign tumour in his brain stem in September 2021. Despite ten hours of surgery, doctors weren’t able to remove all the tumour and he lives with its effects every day – but this hasn’t stopped Ravi living life to the max with bravery, fun and inspirational strength! In November 2022, Ravi brought together a star-studded cast of celebrities and musicians to create a charity music video of The Greatest Showman’s “A Million Dreams” – raising an awe-inspiring £60,000 to date for The Brain Tumour Charity and Brainstrust, two charities close to Ravi’s heart. 

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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! 

Find out more

·       Fraser Smith
·       Gabriella Haywood
·       Holly Preston
·       Lewis Wilson
·       Lily Helmsley
·       Megan Robinson