Family of three generations walk for hope to find brain tumour cure

Lenny, Mya, Florence, Theo and then Andy carrying Arianna
(Last Updated On: September 1, 2022)

The family of a man who was diagnosed with a brain tumour is stepping up to help find a cure for the disease.

Ann Mitchell from Plymouth is taking part in Brain Tumour Research’s Walk Of Hope alongside her husband, two daughters and six grandchildren. Her inspiration is her son, Matt Mitchell, who was diagnosed with multiple grade 2 brain tumours two years ago.

The 67-year-old grandmother of six said: “Since Matt’s treatment he suffers from fatigue and sadly he won’t be joining us this year but we will all be thinking of him on the day.”

This will be the second time the family of three generations is taking part in the charity’s Walk of Hope which they have organised for 18 September around Saltram House in Plymouth.

In October 2019, Matt, 37, suffered an episode thought to be a mini stroke which he put down to stress due to a relationship breakdown. When the same thing happened a week later, his GP referred him to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where an MRI scan revealed the devastating news of multiple tumours.

Ann said: “My husband and I heard a big noise and rushed to check what had happened and when we found Matt, he looked disorientated and couldn’t speak properly. We never expected that this was the sign of a brain tumour.”

Since his diagnosis, over the course of a year, the father-of-two had three operations to remove the tumours. The third operation in August 2020 left Matt with life-changing injuries, losing hearing in one ear, and he now suffers from facial palsy.

He was selected for proton beam therapy which he had five days a week for ten weeks at The Christie in Manchester. He is now monitored with annual scans to monitor the tumours,
the next one is due in January 2023.

Ann added: “We feel very lucky as a family that proton beam therapy was an option for Matt. Since his diagnosis, we have been shocked to discover that not everyone is suitable and that treatment options are often limited.

“By fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, we are hopeful that we can contribute in some way to finding a cure for this disease which can be devastating for so many families.”

In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.

Walk of Hope takes place nationwide on 24 September and there is still time to get involved. Registrants will receive a free fundraising pack and special event t-shirt. To find your nearest walk, or register your own event please visit www.braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/walk-of-hope

Mel Tiley, community, and development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Matt’s diagnosis and are grateful to the family for sharing his story. It’s wonderful to see that three generations of the family have come together to support Matt and other patients who are diagnosed with the devastating disease. Hopefully next year, Matt will be well enough to join the family and we wish them well for their walk.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Ann’s Walk of Hope fundraiser, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ann-Mitchell11

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