Thousands raised in cousin's memory to help find brain tumour cure

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A woman who lost her cousin to an aggressive brain tumour has raised more than £8,275 to help fund research to find a cure for the devastating disease.

Nicole Lawlor, 36, from Portslade, took on the Brighton Half Marathon after Lloyd Stoner passed away from a glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour in June 2020, aged 52. The most commonly diagnosed aggressive brain tumour in adults, just 25% of patients survive more than a year, dropping to 5% surviving more than five years.

Lloyd’s diagnosis came about after he experienced numbness and tingling in his foot which spread up his leg and eventually into his arm. At first, doctors thought it was a problem in his back, but after he started walking with a limp, Lloyd, who lived in London, but grew up in Downside, Hove, had an MRI scan which revealed a brain tumour. He underwent surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but the tumour returned and sadly nothing could save him.

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Yesterday (10 July), Nicole and Lloyd’s mum Yvonne Stoner, who lives in Hove, were invited to the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London to find out how Nicole’s fundraising is helping support scientists leading the way in research into GBM.

Lloyd with his mum YvonneLloyd with his mum Yvonne
Lloyd with his mum Yvonne

Since losing Lloyd, Nicole, who had already taken up running when he was diagnosed, found new purpose focusing on fundraising to find better patient outcomes for the cancer which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other. She signed up for the Brighton Half Marathon 2021, but because it was postponed because of COVID, didn’t end up running it until February 2022.

Nicole said: “Lloyd and I were very close and loved having nights out in London together. He was such fun, but also very generous, caring and kind. One of my favourite memories of Lloyd was going to Winter Wonderland and driving round Hyde Park in a tuk-tuk.

“It was so awful that when he was really ill, COVID prevented me from seeing Lloyd more than a couple of times before he passed away.

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“Remembering Lloyd and the crazy times we had together before he became ill was what spurred me on to complete the Brighton Half, especially after everything he went through.”

Nicole completing the Brighton HalfNicole completing the Brighton Half
Nicole completing the Brighton Half

Yvonne said: “It was really shocking to learn that treatment for brain tumours has barely changed for decades. You just don’t expect that there is no cure still in this day and age.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.

The pair were given the opportunity to tour the labs at Queen Mary University of London, led by principal investigator Professor Silvia Marino.

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They spoke to scientists about their work to find a cure for the disease and placed two tiles on the Wall of Hope in Lloyd’s memory.

Yvonne and Nicole at the Wall of HopeYvonne and Nicole at the Wall of Hope
Yvonne and Nicole at the Wall of Hope

Nicole said: “Sadly, it’s too late for Lloyd, but I hope the money my half marathon has raised is life-changing.

It is heartening to hear from the scientists about the work being done in their quest to find a cure, which can’t come soon enough.”

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re really grateful to Nicole for her support. We hope that Lloyd’s family’s visit to our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London offered a useful insight into all we’re doing to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure.

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“Just 12% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 54% across all cancers, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002. This has to change.”

Nicole and Lloyd loved a night outNicole and Lloyd loved a night out
Nicole and Lloyd loved a night out

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and 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.

To find out more about sponsoring a day of research, go to https://braintumourresearch.org/pages/sponsor-a-day

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