Wigan mum joins grieving families demanding action on brain cancer

A Wigan mum is joining other grieving families and patients to call on the Government to do more to tackle the burden of brain tumours.
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Campaigners will hand a petition to Downing Street calling for more investment and research into brain cancer.

Nicola Nuttall, who grew up in Appley Bridge and Standish before moving to Lancashire, said her daughter Laura would want her to campaign for change.

Laura was just 23 when she died in May.

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Nicola Nuttall with daughter Laura NuttallNicola Nuttall with daughter Laura Nuttall
Nicola Nuttall with daughter Laura Nuttall
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“Laura was passionate about raising awareness and finding a cure,” she said ahead of handing in the petition, which has been signed by more than 80,000 people.

“It broke her heart every time she heard of another young person diagnosed with a brain tumour; it’s eight months since we lost our beautiful daughter, we miss her every minute of every day but I know campaigning for change is what she wanted us to do, so that in the future other families don’t have to endure the same devastation that we have.”

Laura, from Barrowford, Lancashire, was diagnosed with brain cancer in autumn 2018 following a routine eye test.

She was initially told she would have 12 months to live, dropped out of university in London and underwent an operation to remove the largest of eight tumours.

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But in September 2019 she was able to resume her studies at the University of Manchester and completed items on her bucket list before she died, including completing her degree, meeting Michelle Obama, piloting a Royal Navy patrol boat and presenting a television weather bulletin.

Mrs Nuttall will be joined by Antiques Roadshow expert Theo Burrell, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM) in June 2022, and Danny Clarke from the BBC’s The Instant Gardener, whose sister Margot McLellan died from GBM.

Dan Knowles, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Today we are calling on the Government to ring-fence £110m of current and new funding to kick-start an increase in the national investment in brain tumour research to £35m a year by 2028.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Brain cancer is a devastating disease, which is why we’ve made £40m available for research projects specifically looking for new treatments and therapies to tackle this illness.

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“We’re investing in research infrastructure, workshops and training for clinicians to further progress developments in this field. And we continue to encourage further applications for research funding from successful candidates through the National Institute for Health and Care Research.”

It comes as the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign group announced it intends to demonstrate outside Parliament to highlight that tens of thousands of people have missed out on the 62-day cancer treatment target.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “The NHS has treated over 1.2m people for cancer since 2020, and in the last year alone, almost three million people received potentially lifesaving cancer checks and over 336,000 people started treatment – with over 90 per cent patients starting treatment within a month, despite record demand.

“NHS staff continue to work hard to prioritise the longest waiters and most urgent cases, and recent efforts mean more people are being diagnosed at an early stage than ever before and survival rates are higher than ever.

“It is vital people continue to come forward if they are concerned about symptoms – getting checked saves lives.”