The Brain Tumour Charity Lifeline


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The Brain Tumour Charity

Tom Daley presents an appeal on behalf of The Brain Tumour Charity, which supports people living with a brain tumour as well as funding research into finding a cure.


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My name is Tom Daley,

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and this is my dad, Rob.

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He was my biggest supporter,

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the driving force behind my career,

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there at every event, cheering me on.

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But most of all, he was my best friend.

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In 2011, my family's world came crashing down.

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Dad had been diagnosed with a brain tumour five years earlier,

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but, despite having successful surgery,

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he was told it had come back and the prognosis was bleak.

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Always the fighter,

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he vowed he would make it to the Olympic Games in 2012.

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It wasn't to be.

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Dad lost his battle in May 2011,

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when he was just 40 years old.

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Losing a parent at any age is absolutely devastating.

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You can feel like you've nowhere to turn.

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But the Brain Tumour Charity were an incredible support

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for me and my family during one of the toughest times in our lives,

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and I'm so proud to say that they've supported thousands of people

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around Britain who've been through the same thing as my family.

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Right, let's go. Come on, then.

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I am definitely a busy person.

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When I'm not out dancing,

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then I'm out walking with my dog, Skye.

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Angela is 27 years old, and six years ago,

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she received life-changing news.

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I was in my final year of uni when one night,

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I was just lying in bed and suddenly had this immediate,

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excruciating headache. Just, like, bang.

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You know, out of nowhere.

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I was saying, "Help, something's wrong, but I don't know what."

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So we rang the NHS number

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and they said it was likely a migraine

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but they were going to send an ambulance, just in case.

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Feeling reassured her symptoms were probably stress-related,

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Angela went along to a local hospital to be checked over.

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But as time went on, she began to feel worse.

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I was surrounded by seven doctors, all around my bed.

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And one of them held my hand and said,

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"OK, we've looked at the CT scan

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"and we've realised that you're having a brain haemorrhage."

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And from there, they realised that I had a slow-growing brain tumour.

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And then the doctor said, "In our opinion,

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"the best thing to do would be just to leave it because

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"there'd be far more risks to opening you up and having surgery."

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So I had five years of MRI scans,

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until 2015, when the scan showed

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that it was actually beginning to grow again.

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And at that point, my neurosurgeon said, "Now we need to operate."

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I'd gone from being, you know, Miss Independent

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and travelling here, there and everywhere with my job

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to suddenly not even being able to wash my own hair or put my socks on.

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Having six months off after my surgery, it really gave me

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some time to kind of think about things

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and think about the potential symptoms of the past.

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When I was 14, I struggled a lot with weight and I was very nauseous.

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Looking back now, I know that nausea is one of the signs and symptoms.

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Potentially, that was maybe a symptom of the brain tumour.

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The symptoms associated with brain tumours can be

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so easily mistaken with those of other illnesses.

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To tackle this,

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the Brain Tumour Charity launched a campaign called HeadSmart,

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which aims to raise awareness of the common symptoms

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of brain tumours in babies, children and teenagers.

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Since it began, the average time to diagnose childhood tumours

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has been halved from more than 13 weeks to just six and a half.

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And it was because of HeadSmart that Rosie was able to get

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her son, Daniel, treated quickly.

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Daniel was about three when he first became unwell.

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Prior to that, he'd been a very happy, cheerful little boy.

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And it was in the Easter of 2014

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that his personality started to change.

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He began to have tantrums, being quite grumpy.

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I dismissed most of the changes as either, "It's just a little bug,"

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or "He's just growing up,"

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or "It's just him being a normal little boy."

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He really started then to become physically unwell,

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and vomiting in the morning on waking.

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I didn't think anything of it at that time,

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and it was when he vomited again in the morning,

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and that's when I remembered the HeadSmart card

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that I'd seen previously, which made me think about

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the symptoms of a brain tumour.

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You always have it in your head, "Maybe I'm overreacting,

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"but I do really need to take him to the doctor

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"and get him checked out, really."

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And at that point, the doctor said they that would refer him,

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and obviously, that really worried Rosie, when they said that.

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I just really stressed all the symptoms that I knew

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he was showing, and I knew from the HeadSmart campaign.

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And they immediately sent him for a CT scan.

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I think it was half an hour later

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they sat us down and told us what it was.

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And I went from being, trying to be the,

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"Oh, it's all going to be fine," to being a complete wreck.

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I was a mess.

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Daniel's tumour was the size of an adult's fist

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and had caused a build-up of fluid on his brain.

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The doctors had to rush him into surgery within hours

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to remove the growth.

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Your job as a parent is to protect your kids from anything

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that might come along in their life and hurt them.

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And it's just that realisation of knowing

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that you're helpless in this situation,

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there isn't anything you can do to make it better for them.

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The early diagnosis of brain tumours can save lives

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and prevent serious disability.

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Daniel's story is proof that HeadSmart has helped people

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to spot the signs and get their children the treatment they need.

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And now, the charity wants to do more.

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Here at Edinburgh University, Dr Paul Brennan is heading up

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pioneering research funded by the Brain Tumour Charity.

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We know the HeadSmart campaign has been a great success.

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We're hoping to be able to achieve the same impact for adults

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with brain tumours, and the funding from the Brain Tumour Charity

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is going to help us to achieve that.

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We're using patient data from across the UK to really understand

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the spectrum of the problem of early diagnosis.

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We like to see a time in the future when patients can be confident

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that when they go to their general practitioner

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or to the hospital with symptoms,

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that those people who are most likely to have brain tumours

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have the investigations as quickly as possible,

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and that that leads to earlier treatments

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and hopefully better outcomes.

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I can say without a shadow of a doubt,

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if it wasn't for the fact that I'd seen the HeadSmart card,

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Daniel wouldn't be running around, playing with his sisters now.

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They saved our little boy's life, and if they didn't do what they did,

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Daniel probably wouldn't be here now.

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Daniel's latest appointment, we were told that his scan was great, it was

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all clear again, they're happy the tumour's not going to come back.

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So he has basically been given the all clear, really.

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I'm so glad that my mum knew about HeadSmart,

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and they made me better.

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Keen to help others after her own experience, Angela has become

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a staunch campaigner for HeadSmart along with her friend, Natalie,

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and together, they hand out cards to local pharmacies and opticians.

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We got some up-to-date HeadSmart cards.

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We actually met at a support group for young people going

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through things like brain tumours.

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We kind of became friends and became a force for fundraising

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and awareness raising, as well.

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These are aimed at...

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These HeadSmart cards have saved, so many lives already

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and I just get so important to get the message out there

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and also to stop other people going through the same as what

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me and Angela went through.

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You never know who's going to be at the receiving end of the card

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and what the impact would be.

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Over 100,000 people in Britain live with a brain tumour.

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And, speaking from first-hand experience, it's devastating.

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But together, we can defeat the disease.

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With your help, we can fund vital research, reduce diagnosis times,

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and one day, stop families from wondering, what if?

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My dad couldn't be saved,

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but there are people out there like Angela and Daniel who can.

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Please help this great charity and donate now.

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To give by phone, call...

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Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge,

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and the whole £10 goes to the Brain Tumour Charity.

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For full terms and conditions,

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or to make a donation online, visit the Lifeline website.

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Or, if you would like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to the Brain Tumour Charity

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and send it to...

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..writing "The Brain Tumour Charity" on the back of the envelope.

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Thank you so much.

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Tom Daley presents an appeal on behalf of The Brain Tumour Charity, which supports people living with a brain tumour and their families, as well as funding research into finding a cure. Tom lost his father Rob to the disease in 2011, and he and his family have been directly supported by the charity.

Angela from Northumberland was diagnosed aged just 21. She has since received life-saving surgery to control her tumour and is now a staunch promoter of the HeadSmart campaign, which aims to raise awareness of tumour symptoms in babies, children and teenagers. The campaign saved the life of six-year-old Daniel after his mum Rosie recognised his symptoms from the HeadSmart card.