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Our founders win global recognition for charity achievement

Neil and Angela Dickson have been named as the first recipients of a major global award from world leaders in the field.

They both set up the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust at their home in Dogmersfield following the death of their daughter in October 1996, just a few days before her 17th birthday.

The couple had discovered there was no charity dedicated to offering support for patients and families affected by a brain tumour, while research into the disease was almost non-existent.

The Trust went on to become the largest dedicated brain tumour charity in the world. In 2013 it merged with two similar organisations to become what is now The Brain Tumour Charity. In 2014 the couple were both awarded an MBE.

So far, we have has committed more than £38 million to research into brain tumours – more than any other organisation of its kind in the world. We have supported around 32,000 people affected by the disease.

Now Mr Neil and Angela are to receive the newly-launched Paediatric Neuro-Oncology Community Service Award from the International Society of Paediatric Neuro-Oncologists.

The award was presented to them at the virtual ISPNO 2020 annual conference in Tokyo today, the 14th December.

Dr Koichi Ichimura, Chair of ISPNO2020, said Mr and Mrs Dickson had been the ‘strongest supporters’ of research into childhood brain tumours over many years.

“Through their endless dedication and tireless work, they have helped a great many researchers, patients and families across the years.

“The Chairs of ISPNO over the last ten years agreed unanimously that Mr and Mrs Dickson deserve to be recognised at the highest level with this prestigious award, and we are tremendously honoured to nominate them.”

Neil, said: “Angela and I are immensely proud to accept this award from ISPNO.

“We could never have dreamt, in those early days after we lost Samantha, that her legacy would reach so far and so wide.

“When she was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 14, there was absolutely no support mechanism for those diagnosed and research into the disease was almost non-existent.

“Through The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust we were able to change all that.

“In the first ten years, we had two research breakthroughs which led to two new treatments for childhood brain tumours.

“Our work to raise awareness of childhood brain tumour symptoms culminated in the launch of the launch of the HeadSmart campaign, which has won five national awards. Since HeadSmart began, the average time taken to diagnose a childhood brain tumour in the UK has fallen from more than 13 weeks to 6.5 weeks.

“On the support side, we now have a substantial network throughout the UK and globally to help patients and their families.

“And The Brain Tumour Charity is still growing, investing in research around the world to accelerate progress towards our twin goals of doubling brain tumour survival and halving the harm caused by the disease.”

Sarah Lindsell, Chief Executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Since losing Samantha, Neil and Angela have worked ceaselessly towards ensuring that other families facing the shock of a brain tumour diagnosis are not left without help or without hope.

“This award from ISPNO recognises the very real difference they have made to so many thousands of people in the UK and around the world whose lives have been changed forever by this devastating disease.

“It is richly deserved and all of us at The Brain Tumour Charity are thrilled that their achievements have been marked in this way.”

The Samantha Dickson Fund