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Towards a cure for brain tumours

Bishop John Wilson met two North London Catholic families, who lost loved ones to brain tumours, at an event at Speaker’s House to highlight the underfunding of the disease during Brain Tumour Awareness Month.
Alison Phelan of St Joseph’s parish in Wealdstone passed away from a brain tumour just three weeks before her eighth birthday in 2001. Since then her parents and extended family have set up Ali’s Dream, a member charity of national charity Brain Tumour Research, to fund research into childhood brain tumours. To date the charity has raised in excess of £900,000.
Sue Blasotta from St Monica’s parish in Palmers Green died in 2011, aged 42, just six weeks after being diagnosed with a highly aggressive and lethal brain tumour. Her father, David Taylor, set up In Sue’s Name, which, in partnership with Brain Tumour Research, has launched a campaign to raise £1 million to fund research at its Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, long-standing patron of the charity Brain Tumour Research, opened the State Rooms of Speaker’s House to patients, families, scientists, clinicians and supporters as they campaigned for change and for additional funding for research to improve treatments for the 60,000 people (according to the charity brainstrust) living with a brain tumour in the UK.
Bishop John said: ‘It was touching to meet the families of Ali and Sue and to hear their stories. It is a testament to their faith that they have turned the devastation of their loss into a force for good for other young people by working to raise awareness of this form of cancer and campaigning for better funding for research to save lives.’
Alison’s grandfather, Colin Hinton of the Church of Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury parish in Harrow, who attended the event along with his son Chris and daughter-in-law Jan from Watford, said: ‘Our faith in God has helped to keep us strong through many dark times, as well as the comfort that one day we will be reunited with Ali in Heaven, so it was particularly special to have Bishop John at the Speaker’s House event this evening.