A charity gala dinner supported by The Thornbury Radiosurgery Centre raised £3,900 for a brain tumour charity that offers a unique support service to people who are coping with a brain tumour. The Thornbury Radiosurgery Centre – one of only seven Gamma Knife facilities in the UK – sees the impact of brain tumours day to day and is proud to be working closely with the brainstrust charity. The event on October 23rd at the Cutlers’ Hall, Sheffield, brought together patients, carers, clinicians, and leading representatives from charities, manufacturers and healthcare providers and the guest of honour was Mrs Tessa Munt MP.
Tessa Munt MP, a leading campaigner for the increased availability of advanced radiotherapy treatment such as Gamma Knife, highlighted the importance of increasing patient access, praising the work being undertaken in Sheffield as the leading UK centre for stereotactic radiosurgery and the key role required in supporting sufferers, their carers and family. The audience heard the stories of patients, including Dianne Clothier and Clive Stone, providing a real insight into the importance and potential of this treatment.
Mrs Munt said: “People in this room will know better than I precisely how this remarkable machine works and the lifesaving treatment it delivers to patients with benign and malignant brain tumours. Its ability to treat patients non-invasively, allowing them to return to their normal lives without hospital operations or long stays, is truly astonishing.”
The MP added: “In Japan there is one Gamma Knife machine for every 2.7 million people. In the USA it is one for every 2.5 million. Here we have one for every 8.5 million. The facts are stark and unfortunately the incidence of brain tumours is increasing with more diagnosed today than in the 1970s. Despite 20% of cancers spreading to the brain, of the national cancer research funds, brain tumour research gets less than 1% per annum of the research budget.”
She went on to pay tribute to the work of brainstrust in providing invaluable support to sufferers, their families and carers, highlighting that the charity is there to help the 55,000 people living with a brain tumour in the UK.
Dr Helen Bulbeck, founder of brainstrust, also addressed guests, highlighting the importance of support to carers and patients. “The Gamma Knife offers significant advantages to patients and is an important tool in the fight against brain tumours,” she said. “The use of this technology needs to increase and it should be an option that is at the very least considered for every patient. The Gala Dinner has been a fantastic event for people in the UK with a brain tumour. Yes, brainstrust will also be able to do significantly more to help people with the disease with the funds raised during the evening, but we must also be proud of the increased awareness of the work that needs to be done to make Gamma Knife treatment and stereotactic radiosurgery more accessible to patients.”
The evening also marked six years since the opening of The Thornbury Gamma Knife centre, during which some 1,500 patients have been treated.