A WOMAN from Beaworthy, who lost her husband to a brain tumour, is campaigning to raise awareness of the disease.
Gwyneth Treherne-Jones had known Vince for a matter of weeks before he was diagnosed with a ‘low grade’ meningioma tumour. The pair got married during his treatment and realised their dream of moving to Beaworthy, before he passed away at the age of 49.
Now, in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease, Gwyneth is working with the national charity, Brain Tumour Research, to highlight the fact that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Gwyneth has chosen to speak out during March, which is Brain Tumour Awareness Month, and is urging people to take part in the UK-wide fundraising event ‘Wear A Hat Day’, on Friday, March 31.
Now in its eighth year, Wear A Hat Day is supported by Debbie McGee, who lost her husband Paul Daniels to a brain tumour a year ago, celebrated milliner Stephen Jones who cared for a terminally ill friend, actor and author Sheila Hancock, whose grandson was successfully treated, and singer, songwriter and record producer John Newman, who is awaiting treatment for his second brain tumour.
Gwyneth said: “After 12 years as a single mum to three children, I was looking for someone special when I joined a dating website. Vince and I clicked straight away, but, within a matter of weeks, he was taken ill and diagnosed with a brain tumour. People said I should walk away, that I didn’t really know Vince and owed him nothing. I have never been a big believer in fare, but, looking back, I feel that it was meant to be and that Vince came into my life for a reason.
“Vince got through surgery and treatment. At one point he picked up a serious infection and later we learned the tumour was growing once more. We were married in July 2013 — he had no hair and a massive dent in the side of his head, but I loved him just the same, probably more. I felt we were meant to be together and things had fallen into place to make it happen.
“Less than a year later his condition deteriorated once more and, in the end, Vince’s tumour spread to his liver, lungs and spine. The neurosurgeon told us it was the first time in 40 years that he had seen a primary brain tumour metastasise in this way. The cancer was everywhere but Vince remained characteristically brave.”
She added: “Vince passed away in January 2015, and his ashes are placed in our garden, along with a cherry tree which we chose together shortly before he died. Initially, Vince’s tumour was diagnosed as low grade, but by the time he died, the cancer was extremely aggressive and had invaded his whole body. I want people to know that there is no such thing as a ‘benign’ brain tumour, and it is vital that more money is spent on research.”
Gwyneth is campaigning to raise awareness of brain tumours and, along with Brain Tumour Research, lobbying the government and larger cancer charities to see the national spend increased between £30-million and £35-million a year, in line with other cancers such as breast and leukaemia.
Wear A Hat Day will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in all manner of hat-themed fundraising events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life saving research.
Funds raised through 2017’s event will develop the charity’s network of world class brain tumour research centres in the UK, including one at the University of Plymouth, where work is focusing on low-grade tumours.
To get involved, or donate, visit www.wearahatday.org, or text HAT to 70660 to donate £5.