THE PARENTS of 12-year-old Finlay Church who lost his battle with a brain tumour in December have taken their campaign for more research investment into the devastating disease to Westminster.
Penny and Wayne were among other families, carers, scientists, charities and politicians who joined the national charity Brain Tumour Research in urging MPs to put more funding into finding a cure and improving treatments for the 16,000 people diagnosed each year.
Fin, during his 17-month battle, underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy and also took part in clinical trials but nothing could be done to save him from the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) one of the most aggressive forms of brain tumour.
Fin was remembered, along with others, at a reception held at Speaker’s House within the Palace of Westminster, by the patron of Brain Tumour Research and Commons Speaker, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.
The event was held to acknowledge the contribution made by activists across the UK who shared and signed an online petition calling for more investment. With more than 120,000 people signing, the funding issue will be scheduled for a House of Commons debate.
Penny said: “I am ashamed to admit that as we were fighting to save Fin there came a stage when I wished he had leukaemia rather than a brain tumour.
“Surely that would be better, there were treatments and things would be OK wouldn’t they?
“Investment in research and increased public awareness mean leukaemia is no longer a death sentence.
“But where is the investment and subsequent improvement in outcomes for patients with brain tumours?
“We were sickened to learn that the treatment for brain cancer is antiquated and barbaric, as cruel as the disease itself.
“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease – this is unacceptable.
“At the current rate of spend it will take 100 years to find a cure.”
Brain Tumour Research is galvanising people to lobby their MPs to urge them to attend the debate, the exact date of which is yet to be announced, and to campaign for change by signing up at www.bit.ly/campaign4cure
The charity funds four dedicated Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence and is striving to establish three more.
It is challenging the Government and larger cancer charities to increase the national investment in brain tumour research to £30 to £35 million each year, the same level of investment other cancers, such as breast and leukaemia, receive.