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Families hit by brain tumour tragedies band together to demand more money for research

PUBLISHED: 12:11 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 25 March 2019

Charlotte Barber, who was lost to a brain tumour last year. Photo: Brain Tumour Research

Charlotte Barber, who was lost to a brain tumour last year. Photo: Brain Tumour Research

Brain Tumour Research

Families who have suffered tragedies due to brain tumours are just some of those coming together in a bid to improve care.

Charlotte Barber, who was lost to a brain tumour last year. Photo: Brain Tumour ResearchCharlotte Barber, who was lost to a brain tumour last year. Photo: Brain Tumour Research

Julie Barber, lost her daughter Charlotte last year - 29 years after her original diagnosis, and now with Charlotte’s sister Annabel, who runs the Hen House café and gift shop at Cavick House Farm in Wymondham, the family is highlighting the need for change on Wear a Hat Day.

Mrs Barber said: “Charlotte was diagnosed as an eight-year-old and defied the odds and the doctors’ prognoses to live to the age of 37. She loved dressing up and life on the farm and I am sure she would have loved to be joining in the fun of choosing a hat to wear.

“It’s shocking that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet, historically, just 1pc of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. Wear A Hat Day is a fun way of raising funds for a serious cause and a great opportunity to raise awareness, while helping to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients.”

The event, on March 29, is also supported by Barbara Shaw, from Blundeston.

Julie Barber, whose daughter Charlotte died last year. Photo: Brain Tumour ResearchJulie Barber, whose daughter Charlotte died last year. Photo: Brain Tumour Research

The widow said: “It was devastating losing my husband Colin, 18 months after he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. The tumour wasn’t operable and, although he had radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in reality there was virtually nothing they could do and the prognosis was not good.

“Since Colin died, I have supported Brain Tumour Research to raise money that I hope will ultimately find a cure for brain tumours.”

Mrs Shaw hosts a Wear A Hat Day event every year in the village hall, regularly attended by local MP Peter Aldous.

While in Norwich Norfolk Brain Tumour Support Group (NBTSG) is holding an afternoon tea at Benji’s restaurant in Jarrold.

Barbara Shaw hosts a Wear A Hat Day event every year in the village hall after losing husband Colin to a brain tumour. Photo: Brain Tumour ResearchBarbara Shaw hosts a Wear A Hat Day event every year in the village hall after losing husband Colin to a brain tumour. Photo: Brain Tumour Research

Joyce Bell, the main facilitator of NBTSG for several years, became involved with the group following the loss of her daughter. Jennifer died aged 22 in July 2006 as a result of an undiagnosed brain tumour, just nine months after her father Colin suffered a major stroke.

Mrs Bell said: “It is very important to all of us to raise awareness. There appear to be an increasing number of families in the region affected by this devastating diagnosis. Research is urgently needed to improve early diagnosis and find new treatments.”

Eaton Vale Scout and Guide Activity Centre in Norwich will also be going hatty inspired by East Anglian childhood brain cancer charity, Finnbar’s Force.

Marie-Clare Warren, bookings administrator, whose youngest son Oscar was a pupil at Hethersett Woodside Infant School and a friend of Finnbar, said: “It was such a shock when Finnbar passed away aged five, just five months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The activity centre will be supporting Wear A Hat Day to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of children and to help make a difference.”

Joyce Bell, the main facilitator of NBTSG for several years, following the loss of her daughter in 2006.  Photo: Brain Tumour ResearchJoyce Bell, the main facilitator of NBTSG for several years, following the loss of her daughter in 2006. Photo: Brain Tumour Research

And staff at Acle post office will be donning their hats for the fifth year running, inspired by manager Sam Barry who was diagnosed with a grade two meningioma brain tumour in 2011 when she was 41. Fortunately surgeons were able to remove the tumour successfully.

Funds raised will develop Brain Tumour Research’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK where scientists are focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

To get involved, or donate, please visit: www.wearahatday.org

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