All Cancers are Equal, but Some Cancers are More Equal than Others

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and people under 40 in the UK.

Six months ago today I collapsed at home and the Squatter was discovered. Today also marks the beginning of Brain Tumour Awareness Month (BTAM) in the UK. Unless you’ve stumbled across this page accidentally and haven’t heard of a brain tumour before, you might be thinking “well, duh, I’m already aware of brain tumours given that I’m reading a blog about them”.

You’d be correct on a literal interpretation of “brain tumour awareness”. I, however, am taking a more purposive interpretation. It wouldn’t exactly be catchy to call it “Brain Tumour Types, Symptoms, Treatments, Support, Research and Fundraising Awareness Month (BTTSTSRFAM)” would it? As I’ve done today, I’m going to start every post in March with a brain tumour-related fact.

“[We] Will Work Harder”

The Brain Tumour Charity, which we support through a group set up in my brother’s memory, is using BTAM for a fundraising and awareness drive. It kicks off its BTAM efforts on Friday with a bandana-rocking #WearItOut campaign. Jennifer decorated her bandana today using stencils and felt-tips:


Does anyone else think the circles are formed in the shape of the Millennium Bridge between Gateshead and Newcastle?

Heads Up for Heads Up!

Last year, within 10 days of my diagnosis, our friend, Emily Parsons, had sent out a last-minute sponsorship request for the Great North Run, ran the race and raised over £500 for the Brain Tumour Charity. This year, Miss Weasley (Emily’s nickname in our family; it’s a long story for a slow news day), is aiming higher…way higher.

In the vein of idiotic friends (and I mean that in the nicest possible way!) doing insane things, Miss W has set herself a crazy challenge. In a little over six months, she will embark upon what she has devised and called the Heads Up Challenge! She will set off from St Bees, on the west coast of Cumbria, and largely follow Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route through the fells of the Lake District and over the Pennines. At about Richmond, however, she will detour from that route and head straight up north to Newcastle.

Sounds challenging enough, right? There’s more. Working out at an average of 30 miles a day, Emily plans to complete all of this in six days… non-stop… on foot. Just to make things even more interesting, on the seventh day she will take part in the Great North Run, finishing on the coast at South Shields, thereby rounding off her own version of the Coast to Coast!

All of this is for the Brain Tumour Charity. Emily is not only looking for sponsorship (she has set herself a target of £5,000) but is also hoping to pull on everyone’s contacts/knowledge/goodwill for practical support with this epic adventure. She will specifically need help with accommodation overnight, people to run occasional legs alongside her (even for just an hour!) and, crucially, anyone who might be able to lend a campervan to Emily’s support team for the week so they can stay close by with food etc!

If you can help with any or all of the above, please let us/Emily know. You can sponsor her here and/or you can follow her blog chronicling her preparation and execution of this challenge.

We are humbled and grateful beyond words that Emily would set herself such a mammoth task in our family’s name for such a worthy cause. You rock Miss Weasley!


Kids’ Corner

  • Jennifer was working on her first sewing kit the other night and said “I’m having such a hard time with this, Grandma”.
  • When we were at Center Parcs, our en-suite had a whirlpool bath with a sensor to generate the bubbles. Graham and I struggled to make it work consistently for the first couple of nights. On the third night, Dr Rent was in charge at bath time. Leo watched him use the sensor once to start the bubbles. When the bubbles stopped after their allotted cycle time, Leo turned around each time and used the sensor to restart them in the same way that he had seen my Dad use it. Outwitted by our 14-month old son. I’ve got the Squatter addling my brain but what’s Graham’s excuse!?
  • When Jackie used a cylindrical box full of multi-vitamins as a play dough rolling pin the other day, Jennifer described it as a “complicated noise”.
  • Jennifer said the other morning that “me and Leo are going to be best friends forever”. Music to my ears.
  • I went with Graham to pick up the kids from nursery today in what feels like the first time in forever. When we got home, I spent some time playing with them in the living room. After I helped Jennifer with her bandana by holding down the stencils and passing her felt-tips, I read her a bedtime story downstairs. This “activity” has cost me a couple of meizures this evening but it was well worth it, especially after a couple of days of tiredness that meant I hadn’t spent much time with them since shoe-shopping Sunday.




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