Calvert Green couple who lost son to brain tumour recognised for efforts to help other families

A couple from Calvert Green whose son died from a brain tumour at the age of seven have been recognised for their efforts at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of Brain Tumour Research.

Figen and Andy Rawlinson were among the guests invited to a reception at Speakers House, Westminster to mark the 10th anniversary of the Padbury-based charity Brain Tumour Research.

Kelly Ann Hearsay (left), with the Rawlinson family at Brain Tumour Research - from left Kaya, mum Figen, Altay and dad Andy

Kelly Ann Hearsay (left), with the Rawlinson family at Brain Tumour Research - from left Kaya, mum Figen, Altay and dad Andy

The couple’s son Taylan was diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain tumour located in the brain stem called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) in October 2008 - and sadly just ten months later he passed away.

Taylan’s family was determined to help others and set up Taylan’s Project, one of Brain Tumour Research’s first fundraising groups.

Along with campaigning at Westminster, Taylan’s Project has contributed more than £200,000 to support research at the charity’s four centres of excellence where scientists work to improve treatments and ultimately find a cure.

Along with their two younger sons, Kaya, 14, and Altay, 12, Figen and Andy, plus friend Kelly Jo Hearsay, attended the reception hosted by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, MP for Buckingham and a patron of Brain Tumour Research.

Founder of Brain Tumour Research Sue Farrington-Smith with Buckingham MP John Bercow

Founder of Brain Tumour Research Sue Farrington-Smith with Buckingham MP John Bercow

Kelly Jo climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2010, raising more than £6,000 for Taylan’s Project.

Figen said: “We were delighted to be invited to this event to celebrate ten years since the launch of Brain Tumour Research.

"It was a lovely occasion and great to meet up with so many people from the brain tumour community who have played a role in transforming research into brain tumours over the last decade or more.”

Brain Tumour Research chief executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE, who lost her niece Alison Phelan, to a brain tumour in June 2001, three weeks before her eighth birthday said: “We have met so many astonishing, powerful, helpful, angry, devastated, yet determined people.

"Determined to join us in helping to fund the fight and find a cure for this devastating disease.

“We want to thank Figen and Andy and their family and Kelly Jo, each and every one of you, and also all of those we are yet to meet.

"The next decade is set to see huge advances in our quest to improve outcomes for patients and their families and we hope everyone will stay with us as we continue our work to improve treatments and, ultimately, find a cure for brain tumours.”

The reception also marked the launch of Brain Tumour Research’s new manifesto Find a Cure which sets out its plans to grow capacity in research into brain tumours, build research infrastructure, accelerate treatment options for patients, and further increase national investment in the field to £35 million a year by 2025.

Among those attending the celebration were other families, patients, and fundraisers from across the UK whose dedication and hard work have played a crucial role in the success of the charity.

Guests included Caprice, a patron of Brain Tumour Research and a survivor of the disease and singer John Newman who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012.

Also there were former EastEnders actor and patron Ian Reddington, scientists, researchers and representatives of other charities.