I know I keep going on about the Headsmart campaign and the Brain Tumour Charity (BTC), but it’s only because they are so fantastic.
Last Tuesday, I hosted an event in the House of Commons to celebrate the BTC’s success in raising £13 million in the last year for research into brain tumours. It coincided with an international symposium of researchers, practitioners and academics, looking at how to channel and focus research efforts into better understanding brain tumours – with the practical aim of finding a cure.
These research efforts complement the ongoing, Headsmart campaign, to raise awareness of the symptoms of brain tumours in youngsters – by getting awareness cards into every home via local schools. The overarching objective is to get the average diagnosis delay below 5 weeks. When I first heard about the campaign the UK average was 13 weeks. It’s now dipped below 7 weeks, so we’re getting closer. All the more reason to galvanise our efforts to reach that (initial) 5 week target.
At the Parliamentary reception, we heard from a fascinating mix of families, campaigners and researchers on the challenges ahead. But, Hannah Jones – pictured below, with Sarah Lindsell, Andy Foote, Neil Dickson and myself – stole the show, with her very moving (but also highly amusing) account of going through surgery and rehabilitation. It really helped to focus all of our minds on what it is actually like for patients and their families. Hannah is finishing at university, and wants to teach children. I suspect she’ll be brilliant at whatever she turns her mind to. She certainly inspired a lot of people with her guts and gumption last week.