Stepping up for Brain Tumour Research

Skylight IPV have chosen Brain Tumour Research as our Charity of the Year

TeamStairsIf you'd like to donate to our cause, any donation, small or otherwise, would be gratefully received on our JustGiving page.

March is Brain Tumour Awareness month and we have set ourselves a challenge to collectively climb the equivalent ascent of Mount Everest, all 8,849 metres, within our office building to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research.  Given the size of our team and the varying fitness levels this could go to the wire!

We have set ourselves a target of raising a minimum £2,740, which is enough to sponsor a day of research at any of the four Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence.

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.

Unfortunately, one in three of us knows someone affected by a brain tumour and this is why our colleague Lee Davies put forward the charity for selection.  Here's his story.  



Lee's Story

I lost my mum on the 2nd February 2018 at the age of 62.  It was a few days before Dad's and my birthdays and is a day that I will never forget.

lesley-0012My mum, Lesley, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) – a highly-aggressive brain tumour with a devastatingly short prognosis of 12-18 months – in October 2014 after suffering a seizure whilst asleep.  I still remember the phone call from my dad telling me.

She went through the recommended courses of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy which often also involved steroid supplements.  The effects of the treatments were profound.  Her walking became unstable, she lost her hair and the steroids made her face bloat.  I remember how much she really disliked how she looked at my wedding in March 2015.  She was also unimpressed by the best man's speech but I won't go into that.  I was just happy she was there with us.

All Mammy wanted to do with her life was care for people.  She became a volunteer nurse at 16 years old before qualifying and working in the NHS until she retired.  She was the most caring person in the world and would never put herself first.  Her favourite thing was spending time with her family and she loved helping look after her grandson Freddie, my nephew.

Being a nurse who had worked on neurosurgical wards I'm sure she would have known that upon diagnosis she was in for a fight.  But my mum was also stubborn and she fought as hard as she could, trying anything that would give her more time with my dad.  She even tried CBD (it wasn't so in vogue back then)!

lesley-freddieAlas, in 2016 she was diagnosed with another, inoperable tumour.  I was living in India at the time but I made it back to the UK to attend some of the doctor appointments.  After seeing the effects of the first set of treatment and the prognosis of the latest tumour it was evident there was a very difficult decision to be made between quality of life and longevity.  Mammy chose the latter and died in February 2018 four months before my first daughter was born.

The treatments my mother had were brutal and watching her deterioration was heart-wrenching. This is a disease, as with many that affect the mind, that strips you of your dignity leaving you feeling like a burden on everyone around you. 

I remember her saying ‘sorry’ all the time, as if it was her fault, and it tears us apart there was nothing we could do to make her feel better.  It's not the most pleasant memory of someone I loved so dearly.  I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

Patients of this horrific disease have a hard choice to make, as they need to weigh up the value of time versus quality of life, because it can be a long, drawn-out dying process.

I'm not naïve to think that by raising a small amount of cash for Brain Tumour Research we'll find a cure tomorrow.  But you never know - with the combination of gene therapy, focused medical applications of AI and other technological advances, we may get closer to one within my lifetime.  What I'm hoping is that any cash we raise from sprinting trudging up the many flights of stairs can go towards enhancing education on the treatments and their effects, giving patients and their families a clearer view on which treatment option (or not) to take.

I am extremely proud that Skylight and all of my colleagues are supporting our cause.  The leaderboard has been handcrafted ready for the employees who climb the highest heights.  The building occupants have been warned to watch out for sweaty hot-steppers on the stairs and I'm optimistic that we'll smash our Everest target and aim for our stretch target of Olympus Mons on Mars.

Fire those glutes and let's do this!


  • If you've been affected by Lee's story, more information and resources can be found on the Brain Tumour Research website

  • If you'd like to donate to our cause, any donation, small or otherwise, would be gratefully received on our JustGiving page.


A word from Brain Tumour Research

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three people knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, Lesley’s story is, sadly, not unique.  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.

“We’re determined to change this but it’s only by working together we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure. We’re really grateful to everyone at Skylight IPV for their support and wish them the best of luck with their virtual Everest challenge. We look forward to seeing what other exciting fundraising initiatives they come up with this year.”

Brain Tumour Research 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.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

  • Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
  • Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
  • Just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002
  • One in three people know someone affected by a brain tumour
  • In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
  • Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
  • Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
  • Brain tumours kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer
  • Just 12% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 54% across all cancers

† source: Brain Tumour Research.  More stark facts are available on their website.