• Brain Tumour survivor bares all to raise awareness of research shortfall

    Brave statement to raise awareness of Brain Tumour Research’s Wear a Hat Day (25th of March)

    Nicole Witts supports Wear A Hat Day

    Brain tumour survivor, Nicole Witts, is today baring all to raise awareness of the need for increased investment in research and launch ‘Wear a Hat Day’ on the 25th March. By posing nude in nothing but a pink hat, she hopes to raise awareness of the deadly disease, which claims the lives of more people under the age of 40 than any other cancer1.


    Nicole, who lives in Leighton Buzzard with her husband and two daughters, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008. Following her recovery and in response to the lack of investment Nicole felt compelled to make a brave statement that would draw the attention of the country towards this issue.


    She comments: “Brain tumours are sometimes described as the ‘orphan disease’ because so little is known about them and consequently so little funding is allocated to them. With more awareness, I hope more funding will come for research and education. I am thankful I’m alive to be a mum, but I want to ensure what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else.”


    It is estimated that 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year- that’s 43 people a day, but very little is known about their cause2. With 20% of all cancers spreading to the brain, Nicole hopes her nude photo will highlight the need for further vital research3.


    Kevin O’Neill, Consultant Neuro-surgeon, Charing Cross Hospital comments:

    “Brain tumours cause the greatest reduction of expected life years than any other cancer and are on the increase particularly in the younger age groups. Without the necessary funding this vital research will not translate into treatments, which will have huge clinical implications for all brain tumour patients”.



    Wear a Hat Day asks people to donate at least £1 each to wear a hat to school, work or simply out and about to raise money for brain tumour research. For more information about Brain Tumour Research’s Wear a Hat Day go to: http://www.braintumourresearch.org/


    The campaign is also being supported by famous milliner Philip Treacy, who is encouraging people to display their commitment to the cause through their headwear.


    Philip comments, “Brain Tumour Research’s Wear a Hat Day is an excellent initiative; fashion is a feeling and a mood and therefore how best to express your passion and commitment to a subject such as brain tumour research than by wearing a fantastic hat.  It immediately creates a statement and it doesn’t matter what the hat is or how much it costs, everybody who gets involved will feel a million dollars on the day, whilst also raising much needed research funds and awareness.”


    Wear a Hat day is the annual focus for Brain Tumour Research’s ‘Centres of Hope’ campaign which aims to raise £7m for seven centres of excellence to get seven times closer to a cure, the first of which is at the University of Portsmouth. The regional centres will be dedicated to laboratory-based brain tumour research that will work towards increasing understanding of brain cancer and the ways it can be treated.



    Press enquiries: Amy Seaman or Simon Hackett on 01903 821550

    Email: amyseaman@pegasuspr.co.uk / shackett@pegasuspr.co.uk

    Issued by: Pegasus Public Relations

    On Behalf of: Brain Tumour Research


    Interviews available with:

      • Nicole Witts, brain tumour patient
      • Wendy Fulcher, Chair of Brain Tumour Research
      • Sue Farrington Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research
      • Professor Geoff Pilkington, lead researcher at Portsmouth centre of excellence
      • Kevin O’Neill, Consultant Neuro-surgeon, Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial College, London



    Notes to Editor

     A report on inequality of funding and profile of brain tumours” Brain Tumour Research, July 2009

    2 A manifesto for everyone affected by a brain tumour, Coalition of UK brain tumour organisations, October 2010

    3 NICE: “Improving Outcomes for People with Brain and Other CNS Tumours”, June 2006


    Brain Tumour Research comprises the following 18 member charities who have united together: Ali’s Dream, Andrea’s Gift, Anna’s Hope, Astro Fund, Brain and Spine Foundation, Brainstrust, Brain Tumour Action, Brain Tumour Research Campaign, Brainwaves, Charlie’s Challenge, Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, Ellie Savage Memorial Trust, Ellie’s Fund, Hammer Out, Levi’s Star, The Diana Ford Trust, the PPR Foundation and Thorne Mason Trust.


    In 2010 these charities jointly raised nearly £2 million with funds raised being allocated to provide support and research at existing UK centres where brain tumour research is already being carried out.