Tom and Lawrence have taken on an extraordinary challenge. In our office at The Brain Tumour Charity, we talk every day about the latest news from the blog or the rowers’ families.
We worried when the storms came and we cheered when they finally broke free of the circling currents around the Kelvin seamount. The sights captured by Tom and Lawrence have shown us beautiful sunsets, wildlife and seascapes we otherwise might never have seen.
None of us at The Brain Tumour Charity has tackled anything like it.
But we face a major challenge of our own: to double brain tumour survival and halve the harm brain tumours cause to quality of life.
As a step towards those goals, we want to reduce the time it takes on average to diagnose brain tumours in the UK. That’s why every penny of the incredible amount Tom and Lawrence have raised will go towards our new research into diagnosis times for adults with brain tumours.
Four out ten people living with a brain tumour visited their GP more than five times before being diagnosed. Almost two thirds of all malignant brain tumours are diagnosed through an emergency presentation – higher than any other cancer.
And if a brain tumour is diagnosed as an emergency, the outcome is likely to be worse.
Thanks to our UK-wide HeadSmart campaign, we have already brought down the time it takes on average to diagnose brain tumours in children – from more than nine weeks in 2011 to less than seven weeks today.
That means fewer young lives lost and a better quality of life for childhood brain tumour survivors.
Now we want to do the same for adults.
We hear so many shocking stories from patients whose brain tumours went undiagnosed for years after they first consulted a doctor about their symptoms. Many made numerous visits to their GP or saw several different doctors before they were finally referred for a scan.
Far too often, they have ended up being diagnosed after a desperate trip to A&E.
The money raised by Ocean Valour will help us to find out for the first time the real extent of the problem, why it happens and what can be done to make things better.
Tom and Lawrence’s incredible journey across the Atlantic is driving us forward towards our goal – and it will help to keep us going long after they have reached dry land.
Sarah Lindsell, chief executive, The Brain Tumour Charity
Find out more at: www.thebraintumourcharity.org