A legacy of hope at Brain Tumour Research

21 March 2017

Two things have struck me since I joined Brain Tumour Research.  First, the vast number of people touched by this cause: brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone but they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

And second, the tremendous generosity of our supporters, who give so much through fundraising activities and volunteering.

Juxtaposed with this action and effort on the part of the brain tumour community is the dire lack of government funding towards research into this devastating disease, with a mere 1% of the national spend on cancer research having been allocated to brain tumours.

More and more Brain Tumour Research supporters are leaving gifts in their Wills.

A legacy of hope for people who have been affected by a brain tumour and who want to help us fund more research to improve clinical outcomes and, ultimately, to find a cure.

‘A giant amongst Scotsmen’

One of the many moving stories I’ve come across during my short time at Brain Tumour Research was the heart-breaking story of Scotsman John McMahon.  He called himself ‘a giant amongst Scotsmen’ because he was the tallest of his brothers, but he was in fact only 5ft 6”.

Like so many others, he was previously fit and well, until he began experiencing seizures, leading to his diagnosis of a low-grade brain tumour in 2008.

In early 2011, John’s scan revealed that his tumour had grown.  Unfortunately, the brain tumour was now an aggressive grade IV and John had to undergo radiotherapy and chemotherapy.  John and his wife Judith were told that without treatment John would only live for approximately another two months; with the drugs, he could expect to live for another 20 months.

Against all odds

Despite all odds, John lived for another three and half years; the treatment greatly extended his life expectancy, although he did sadly lose his battle on 24th June 2014.

The key thing that really resonated for me and with so many other stories I have come across at Brain Tumour Research, is the historic underfunding into research for brain tumours.  How can a disease this deadly and indiscriminate be lagging so far behind in government funding? I think the words of Judith McMahon summarise this best of all:

“Research into brain tumours is so important because it will give people hope, it will give them better prognosis and hopefully, eventually, give them a cure.  If you can give people hope, for example with new drugs, it would be absolutely wonderful.  It is shocking to find out that so little money is spent on this area of research and yet it affects so many people”.

Helping the work live on

Judith re-wrote her Will to include a legacy to Brain Tumour Research. In her own words: “Leaving a legacy has made me feel that out of something horrible like John dying, I can now help other people who have been diagnosed with brain tumours.

We are grateful for all gifts, large or small. They help us to rewrite the future of brain tumour patients.

Contact us if you would like any further information about leaving a gift in your Will to Brain Tumour Research. As a charity member of the Free Wills Network, we can offer to pay for a limited number of simple Wills to be written through participating solicitors.

Natalie Binder, Marketing Manager, Brain Tumour Research