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The Brain Tumour Charity announces a ground-breaking research partnership

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation pledges £1.5 million to fund a pioneering University College London research programme into brain tumours.

The Foundation was set up last year to fund brain tumour research in loving memory of Oli Hilsdon, who lost his battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme – a malignant Grade IV brain tumour – in January 2019, just 10 days before his 27th birthday. The Foundation’s promising partnership with The Brain Tumour Charity will accelerate research into Glioblastoma Multiforme in the search of a future with a cure.
Oli was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma at the age of 22 and given less than 12 months to live. Oli fought his diagnosis with optimism, courage and a wicked sense of humour. Running the London Marathon in under four hours, working full time, travelling the world and marrying his wife, Gigi. He passed away in January 2019, 10 days before his 27th birthday.

    A photo of Oli Hilsdon, who is the inspiration for The Oli Hilsdon Foundation's drive for better glioblastoma research.

    Oli taught everyone what it is to live and to celebrate all that life has to offer.

    Gigi established The Oli Hilsdon Foundation in January 2019 with Oli’s sister Emily, sister-in-law Maria and Cambridge University friends Adam, Alastair and John. The Oli Hilsdon Foundation continues Oli’s incredible work raising awareness and funding for research projects that advance the goal of extending and ultimately saving the lives of those diagnosed with a Glioblastoma.

    Speaking of the Foundation’s partnership, Gigi said: “At The Oli Hilsdon Foundation, we are committed to creating an environment where research into brain tumours can thrive. It is imperative that we bring brilliant scientists and minds to the field to drive progress as quickly as possible and ultimately change the outcome of a brain tumour diagnosis.

    “We strongly believe that by investing in and growing the field, whilst working collaboratively with exceptional leaders and organisations, we can accelerate discovery. We are proud to honour Oli and his incredible legacy by partnering with The Brain Tumour Charity to fund the world class research led by Professor Parrinello at UCL. The team are undertaking ground-breaking and innovative research, and in doing so they offer much-needed hope for a future with a cure.”

    The five-year research funding of Professor Simona Parrinello’s ‘Mapping GBM Cells’ at UCL is a tribute to Oli and continues his exceptional fundraising legacy.

    Professor Parrinello and her colleagues at UCL aim to understand how Glioblastomas spread in the brain and how they use small molecules as messengers to communicate with surrounding cells. Glioblastomas are diffuse in nature, meaning the tumour cells can spread through healthy parts of the brain and make it difficult to completely remove the tumour during surgery.

    Gigi said: “The Oli Hilsdon Foundation believes that exceptional breakthroughs come from exceptional research – and breakthroughs are desperately needed in brain cancer. That is why we have chosen to work with The Brain Tumour Charity – the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours in the world – to identify the most pioneering research projects.

    “Their research projects are reviewed and shaped by scientific and clinical field-leaders, guaranteeing that each project is evidence-based, outcomes-orientated and of exceptional quality.

    “Our collaboration with The Brain Tumour Charity allows us to invest 100% of our resources in the most effective way, committing to world-class, pioneering projects that offer the best chance of success and will lead to change.”

    “At The Oli Hilsdon Foundation, we continue Oli’s exceptional legacy in raising awareness and funding research that advances discovery in the hope that we live to see a cure for this devastating disease.

    “We do this forever for Oli, an incredible and adored young man who taught us all what it is to live: to love his family, to be a loyal friend, to work hard and to celebrate all that life has to offer”.

    Find out more about The Oli Hilsdon Foundation here.