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Louise's story

In August 2019, at the age of 33, Louise suffered a seizure which led to the diagnosis of a brain tumour. The diagnosis was a diffuse astrocytoma, a type of low-grade glioma.

Her world turned upside down. Being an A&E nurse, she fully understood that life can change at any moment but never believed it would be her own life.

Surgeons were able to remove most of the tumour, but Louise was told that around 20 per cent remained – and that the chances were high that this would eventually grow further and develop into a high-grade tumour.

Louise had six-monthly scans to monitor the tumour. It remained stable until October 2023, when she received the news she'd been dreading - the scan revealed that the tumour had regrown, and at significant speed.

Louise underwent surgery in December to debulk the tumour. A week later she was given the news that her tumour was now high-grade and more aggressive. It had developed into a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma.

This brain cancer is not curable but the hope is that it can be kept stable with treatment. Louise has just completed 33 sessions of radiotherapy to the brain, and will commence a year of chemotherapy in April.

Louise completed 33 sessions of radiotherapy in February 2024

Running therapy translates to incredible fundraising

When Louise found it difficult to deal with the emotional aspects of her initial diagnosis, her neuropsychologist recommended that she try running. During the first Covid lockdown, Louise thought she might as well give this a go and started the Couch to 5k programme. From there, in October 2021 - just 18 months after her first foray into running, she completed the London Marathon as part of Team #BrainResearch. She ran with friend Emma and together they raised the staggering sum of £10,500!

Louise ran the London Marathon with Emma again in 2022, raising a further £6,000. And in 2023, this inspirational lady boosted funds by a further £10,000 by running the Great North Run with husband Tom, before holding a disco party fundraiser just before her surgery.

Louise and Emma after completing the 2021 London Marathon

Funding research into low-grade glioma

Louise was delighted to learn that funds raised by Team #BrainResearch have helped fund research into low-grade glioma.

Neurosurgeon Richard Mair at the University of Cambridge was awarded Brain Research UK funding in 2021 for research focused on blocking the progression from low-grade glioma (LGG) to high-grade glioma (HGG).

As Louise knows only too well, there is no cure for LGG, and all patients will ultimately progress to HGG, at which point their prognosis is around two years. Like Louise, patients undergo regular surveillance to detect this progression, and Richard proposes that this surveillance period is a perfect time during which to intervene. He believes that prognosis could be extended significantly by intervening whilst the cancer remains low-grade rather than waiting for it to progress.

Find out more about Richard's research: Richard Mair: Blocking progression of low-grade brain tumours

I was overjoyed to hear that Richard Mair's research had received funding from donations to the marathon. I am very aware that my tumour will ultimately develop into a glioblastoma and then my life expectancy will dramatically shorten. How can we not treat these types of brain tumours earlier to stop them progressing or get a cure? I will always have brain cancer but all I can hope for is that another person will have a better chance of a cure in the future.

Brain tumours kill more people under 40 than any other cancer. A lack of research investment has severely hampered progress in treatment, and survival has not increased in line with other cancers. Please donate, if you can, to help us increase the pace of research, to help people like Louise live better, longer.

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