April 15, 2021 11.25 am This story is over 31 months old

Lincolnshire nurse’s heartbreaking brain tumour battle shared in funding plea

The Prime Minister will be given the full report

A Lincolnshire woman has shared painful memories of her mother’s brain tumour battle as part of a national campaign for better research funding.

Over 112,000 people have signed a petition demanding government funding into finding a cure for brain tumours.

Kathryn Clements, 34, from Boston, lost her mum Shirley after she developed a primary central nervous system brain tumour known as gliomatosis cerebri.

Shirley died at just 59-years-old, after retiring from her job as a clinical lead district nursing sister in autumn 2018.

Shirley tragically left behind her husband Andy. | Photo: Brain Tumour Research

She re-registered as a nurse when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but couldn’t go back into work due to periods of illness which are now being linked to her subsequent brain tumour.

Kathryn, a learning support assistant at Boston College, said: “One morning in July 2020, without warning, Mum became disorientated, was vomiting and had lost her short-term memory. She was sent to hospital as her symptoms carried on for a few days.

“She had an MRI scan and the results showed a huge, inoperable tumour, which was already in various areas of her brain.

Shirley loved her nursing job, but her illness meant she couldn’t go back to help during COVID-19. | Photo: Brain Tumour Research

“A biopsy did not determine exact information about the tumour other than it was gliomatosis cerebri. It was suspected to have been growing for years with symptoms that were not typical of a brain tumour.”

In November 2020, Shirley faced 33 rounds of radiotherapy, with slight improvements showing initially, but the tumour continued to grow until, sadly, it was too late for doctors to help her.

Kathryn said: “Mum had one round of chemotherapy and was due another, but on 13 February 2021, she woke in excruciating pain, begging my dad to help her.

“An ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital. A CT scan showed that there had been a break in the tumour and another had started to grow. There was nothing they could do for her.

“From that evening her care became palliative. She was transferred to a hospice, where, at 5:15pm on February 23, she took her last breath and was finally free of this awful disease.”

Shirley was a Queen’s nurse, a title given to those who demonstrate a high level of commitment to patient care and nursing. | Photo: Brain Tumour Research

Kathryn is just one of so many people in the country to have been affected by brain tumours, and she has joined more than 100,000 people in calling for change.

A petition created by leading charity Brain Tumour Research is calling for increased investment in scientific research, to try once and for all to find a cure for this disease.

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, but historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research goes towards brain tumours.

The charity has been circulating a report to MPs on Thursday, April 15, titled Level Up and Stop the Devastation, to highlight the importance of finding a brain tumour cure.

Within the report, the charity are asking government to introduce a new brain tumour research levelling up fund of £105 million, as well as increasing national investment to £35 million per year.

To read the full report, as well as other people’s stories, visit the Brain Tumour Research website.