Have you been diagnosed with a brain tumour? Order your free information pack.

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation smashes fundraising goal 18 months early!

We’re driving forward cutting-edge research together, as the Foundation fulfils a ground-breaking new £1.5 million research grant 18 months early.

A photo of the Trustees of The Oli Hilsdon Foundation, a charity that's driving for better glioblastoma research.

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation has fully funded a ground-breaking glioblastoma research project to map glioblastoma cells 

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation was set up in 2019 to fund research into brain tumours in loving memory of Oli Hilsdon. who lost his battle with a glioblastoma – an agressive grade four brain tumour – in January 2019, just 10 days before his 27th birthday.

We were excited to partner with The Oli Hilsdon Foundation in January 2020. The Foundation pledged £1.5 million to fund a pioneering University College London (UCL) research programme into brain tumours. The project is led by Professor Simona Parrinello and is due to finish in March 2025. 

Earlier this year, we were thrilled to hear the incredible news that The Foundation has raised all of the money needed to fully fund the project – a whole year earlier than anticipated! 

Read on to find out:

About The Oli Hilsdon Foundation 

Oli was diagnosed with a glioblastoma at age 22 and given less than 12 months to live. Oli fought his diagnosis with optimism, courage and a wicked sense of humour.  He ran the London Marathon in under four hours, worked full time and travelled the world. He passed away in January 2019, 10 days before his 27th birthday. The Oli Hilsdon Foundation was founded in January 2019 by Oli’s family and friends: Georgia Perry-Hilsdon, Emily Hilsdon, Maria Perry, Adam Lee, Alastair McWilliams and John Boreham. 

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

Georgia Perry-Hilsdon, Chair of The Oli Hilsdon Foundation said on its behalf:

“We are immensely proud to have fully funded this pioneering project led by Professor Simona Parrinello in partnership with The Brain Tumour Charity. The team’s dedication, motivation and compassion inspires us, along with their unique approach to tackling this devastating disease. Their research gives hope that a breakthrough is possible to every single person with a glioblastoma.  

We would like to express our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to our outstanding community of supporters and friends for their tremendous kindness, generosity and support. We are also grateful to The Brain Tumour Charity, whose commitment to research into brain tumours is exceptional and provides hope that we can defeat this devastating disease. 

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation continues to fundraise for much-needed research and investment into brain tumours to accelerate a future with a cure for brain cancer.” 

Driving forward breakthroughs in glioblastoma research 

Glioblastomas are diffuse in nature, meaning the tumour cells can quickly spread through healthy parts of the brain. This makes it difficult to completely remove the tumour during surgery

Professor Parrinello and her team aim to understand how glioblastomas spread in the brain. In particular, how they use small molecules as messengers to communicate with surrounding cells. 

This knowledge will help researchers determine whether treatments can be tailored to where in the brain the cancer has formed. The investigations will also identify new molecules against which drugs can be developed to block cancer spread and recurrence. 

Since starting this grant in September 2019, Dr Parrinello and her team have made great progress. Among other key findings, they’ve:

  • identified molecules that are related to invasive behaviour
  • created mathematical models to understand how tumours spread
  • discovered an important molecule that plays a role in the spreading of the tumour. 

We look forward to seeing the continued progress of this exciting project. 

Professor Simona Parrinello said:

“We remain extremely grateful to The Oli Hilsdon Foundation for their generous support. Without their genorisity our work would not be possible. We’re excited about our recent discoveries of the unique properties of invasive tumour cells. We believe this knowledge will be instrumental to the development of new approaches for targeting these cells and preventing glioblastoma recurrence.”

The impact of Oli’s legacy 

The funding in full of this exceptional research project is game-changing for people diagnosed with a glioblastoma. It will accelerate the cures and improved quality of life they so desperately need. 

We’re so proud to work alongside The Oli Hilsdon Foundation and are immensely grateful for their commitment to our world-class research.  

Their support in fully funding this project is a huge stride forward towards our vision as a charity to help people diagnosed with a brain tumour live longer and better lives. 

Phoebe Day, Partnerships Manager at The Brain Tumour Charity said:

Thank you to each and every one of The Oli Hilsdon Foundation community. Thank you for your dedication, belief and trust in us. More than anything, thank you for your endless love for Oli that continues to propel us closer to a cure for this devastating disease.

We can’t begin to imagine how bittersweet this celebration must be but Oli’s name continues to be alive in the labs, in the brains of the sharpest world class researchers and most significantly, Oli’s name is in the future prognosis, treatment and quality of life for every single person diagnosed with a glioblastoma in the years ahead. What a legacy!

Thank you to the Trustees and Oli’s family for their continued support. We look forward to celebrating Professor Parrinello and her team’s achievements at the end of the project.”

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

The Oli Hilsdon Foundation

Learn more about The Oli Hilsdon Foundation, thework they do and the amazing impact Oli’s legacy will have.