Norfolk model Kerri Parker calls for more cash for tumour research

Norwich Brain Tumour Support Group. Norwich model Kerri Parker who has just had her operation.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Norwich Brain Tumour Support Group. Norwich model Kerri Parker who has just had her operation. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
9:49 AM

Norfolk model Kerri Parker joined brain tumour campaigners in Westminster to urge the government to devote more research cash to finding a cure for the disease.

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The 30-year-old, from Dereham, whose brain tumour was discovered by accident last year, teamed up with the charity Brain Tumour Research to present a new study which shows one in 50 people who die under the age of 60, do so from a brain tumour.

The findings were presented to science and universities minister David Willetts in the Houses of Parliament yesterday.

The charity said at the current rate of spending it could take 100 years to find a cure, and funding needed to increase to about £35m a year.

Miss Parker, who runs one of the UK’s biggest model training schools, was given the devastating news that she had a brain tumour in October.

The discovery was only made after she was rushed to hospital with suspected meningitis, which turned out to be a virus.

She had the tumour removed in March, but will have to continue to have regular scans for the rest of 
her life to ensure it does not grow back.

“Had they not found it earlier, I would have been dead. Had I not found it by accident I would not be here.

“We want to know what causes it and to get people diagnosed earlier.”

She said that it was important for science minister to hear about the experience of someone who had faced the illness.

“I can say to them, ‘this is what I faced’.

“They can say all day long ‘this is what we think people are going to face’, but until it happens to them, or they speak to someone, they don’t know.”

Miss Parker, a former Dereham Neathered High School pupil, said: “With the increased use of mobiles, we don’t know the impact that might be having.

“They say there might be a link, but at least if they find out, they can warn people and they can stop doing it.”

Her mother, Kathleen, who joined her on the visit, said her daughter was acting as a face for thousands of people in a similar situation.

“If you don’t put a face to some of those things, they don’t become quite so real,” she said.

About 16,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours each year.

The charity said that spending money on research into breast, leukaemia, bowel and prostate cancers had seen remarkable improvements in treatments, and therefore survival rates.

Miss Parker was asked to join the visit to London after getting involved with the charity’s Wear A Hat Day fundraising campaign. She will feature on a charity’s badge.

The annual fundraiser sees people around the country encouraged to don a hat of their choice and ask for a £1 donation.

Do you have a health story for us? Email health correspondent Adam Gretton at adam.gretton@archant.co.uk.

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