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Whitehaven man loses fight against “neglected” cancer

Chris Todd pictured with wife Audrey, left, and daughter Vicky, campaigning with the charity Brain Tumour Research at Westminster.
Chris Todd pictured with wife Audrey, left, and daughter Vicky, campaigning with the charity Brain Tumour Research at Westminster.

[A] Whitehaven man who, together with his family, campaigned for more funding for research into brain tumours, has lost his fight against the “neglected” cancer.

Christopher Todd, aged 65, passed away in hospital on Sunday 6th November with his family at his side. He had been diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive type of brain tumour, two years ago.

Daughter Vicky Mason, 43, of Carlton Drive, Whitehaven, said: “We are heartbroken. Dad was our world and to have watched him fight, struggle with and finally succumb to this most devastating of diseases has been so difficult for all of us.

“Dad should have been enjoying his retirement, spending time with the family, and tending his beloved vegetable garden yet he was so diminished by the tumour and the effects of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”

Together with her mum Audrey, Vicky has been a tireless fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research and has campaigned at Westminster alongside the charity calling for more investment in research to improve treatments and, ultimately, find a cure. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet have been allocated just 1% of the national spend on cancer research.

Last month, Chris’s story was included in the charity’s National Research Funding Report aimed at addressing the historical underfunding of research into brain tumours and the devastating consequences of limited treatment options for patients and families.

In the report, Vicky wrote: “Dad’s condition was stable for a while but, sadly, this summer we discovered his tumour was growing. This desperate situation is made worse by the fact that we have had to struggle and fight all the way to get him seen and to try to put a treatment plan together. It is as if there is no urgency, we have to make repeated phone calls and requests to get anything done.

“My dad is 65 with limited mobility so perhaps doctors think it’s not worth doing anything. Of course they don’t see my dad the way we do, a loving husband and much-loved grandad, a man who deserves a long and happy retirement and to be in his beloved garden growing vegetables. One thing I am certain of is that not nearly enough is known about brain tumours and there are not enough effective treatments. I cannot accept that my dad is a ‘lost cause’.”

Vicky, who has two children, is well on her way to raising £20,000 for the charity and has organised and taken part in a variety of events including a marathon, charity auction and sky-dive. The family has asked for donations to the charity in Chris’s name instead of flowers at his funeral, the details of which have yet to be announced. Donations to the charity can be made via Vicky’s Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vicky-mason2

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Our condolences go to Vicky, Audrey, and all of Chris’s family and friends. Tragic stories like Chris’s remind us all that we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. For too long, brain tumours have been a neglected cancer and we will continue our fight, in memory of Chris and all the families who have been affected. Along with our member charities, we are campaigning for fairness in cancer research funding and seeking the support of the general public and organisations to donate and raise funds so that brain tumour patients can see the same improvements in treatments and outcomes that breast cancer and leukaemia patients have. Together we will find a cure.”

The funeral will take place on Tuesday 15th November at 1:15pm at St James church Whitehaven followed by a cremation at Distington. Family flowers only any donations to a charity that is close to our hearts Brain Tumour Research. You can donate by this link https://www.justgiving.com/vicky-mason2

Brain Tumour Research is campaigning to see the national spend on brain tumour research increased to £30 million – £35 million a year, in line with breast and leukaemia, in order to advance treatments and ultimately find a cure. www.braintumourresearch.org

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