Campaigning father welcomes new brain tumour inquiry - The Rugby Observer

Campaigning father welcomes new brain tumour inquiry

Ian Hughes 8th Mar, 2018 Updated: 8th Mar, 2018   0

A FATHER who lost his son to a brain tumour has welcomed a new inquiry into the disease.

Steve Realf, the only son of Peter and Liz from Rugby, was just 26 when he died in 2014. Backed by Brain Tumour Research, the family launched an online petition calling for more research into the disease and has been at the forefront of a campaign which has gathered momentum over the past three years.

And this week Peter addressed a meeting at Westminster at the launch of the inquiry. He was joined by other families, patients, campaigners and charity workers at the invitation of the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons and a patron of the national charity Brain Tumour Research.

Model, businesswoman and brain tumour survivor Caprice was also at the event on Tuesday as the inquiry, which will investigate the economic and social impacts of the disease, was opened.

Peter, welcoming the inquiry which will run until the summer, said: “I think it is hard to understand the impact of a brain tumour diagnosis until your family has been through it. The emotional burden is hard and affects the extended family, there is the worry about money and disruption to work, and fears about the future as well as many other things to think of.

“There is a great momentum and urgency around the issue now and we will continue to fight for patients and their families in memory of our son.”

In a nod to Wear A Hat Day, the fundraising campaign which takes place on Thursday March 29, Caprice and other celebrity supporters including TV presenter Sarah Beeny, TV’s Instant Gardener Danny Clarke, celebrated milliner Noel Stewart, and Peter donned their favourite headwear for a photo call.

The lack of investment in research into brain tumours, meaning treatments and survival rates lag significantly behind other cancers, has become a high-profile political issue with momentum building since January.

Former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, who was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of the disease last year, received a standing ovation when she shared her story in the House of Lords.

The following month, the government published the findings of a year-long working group which was borne out of the petition started by the Realf family, which included recommendations on how to increase the level and impact of research in brain tumours. An announcement revealing £45million of research investment followed.

Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours have been a neglected form of cancer for decades, killing more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“This Inquiry will shine a light on the social and economic impacts of brain tumours adding weight to our arguments and landing a huge urgency to our call for further funding to improve patient outcomes and offer much-needed hope to families.

“Whilst we welcome the funding announcement, the fact that the funds are spread over five years means that brain tumours remain a poor relation to other better-funded cancers.”

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