Dedicated brain tumour campaigners, including Debbie McGee, were among the guests of Speaker John Bercow MP at an exclusive House of Commons event held on behalf of a Shenley Wood-based charity on Wednesday during Brain Tumour Awareness Month.
John Bercow, long-standing patron of the charity Brain Tumour Research, opened the State Rooms of Speaker’s House to patients, families, scientists, clinicians, supporters and Brain Tumour Research team members as they campaigned for change.
They were urging MPs to reverse the decades of underfunding for research and significantly improve treatments for the 60,000 people (according to the charity brainstrust) living with a brain tumour in the UK.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Iconic magician Paul Daniels died from a brain tumour one year agoon March 17, just weeks after his diagnosis.
Debbie McGee, who met Paul in 1979, spoke movingly about her husband to the invited guests.
She said: “Paul loved life too much to just give up, we continued to share a joke until just two days before he died. After nearly 30 years of marriage, all I could do was be with him, to hold his hand and tell him that I loved him.”
Supporter Grace Daly, of Shenley Lodge was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 15.
Inspired by the amazing care she had whilst undergoing treatment for her condition, she is now working as an oncology nurse at MK General.
Grace said: “More research is needed so fewer lives will be devastated by this dreadful disease.
“I want to see a day when cancer is no longer life-threatening, when the notion that cancer could be a killer is thought absurd.
“We must act to improve outcomes for patients and increase funding into brain tumour research.”
The charity is celebrating a year of high-profile campaigning on this issue following the unprecedented success of its petition in 2016.
Following that, Brain Tumour Research is now part of the Government’s Task and Finish Working Group convened to tackle the historic underfunding for research.
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, praised the dedication of the charity’s supporters.
She added: “Many families continue to be torn apart watching their loved ones die of a brain tumour.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. We have all seen how research investment into other forms of cancer has resulted in improved patient outcomes over recent decades.
“It is crucial that we significantly increase the investment in brain tumour research and offer hope for patients and their families.”
UK-wide fundraising event, Wear A Hat Day on March 31 will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in all manner of hat-themed fun events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life-saving research.
Funds raised through 2017’s event will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK.