Local brain tumour research charity celebrates hitting £500,000 milestone

In Sue’s Name was set up by the father of a Palmers Green mother who died from a rare brain tumour 14 years ago

Sue with children Sasha and Daniel
Sue with children Sasha and Daniel

A local charity set up in memory of a woman who died from a brain tumour aged 42 has now raised £500,000 to help sponsor research to find a cure.

In Sue’s Name was set up in 2014 to honour Sue Blasotta, a beloved mum-of-two from Palmers Green who died in 2010, by her father David Taylor. It has an ambition to raise £1million to fund vital research – and has now reached half of this target.

David said: “On the day that we should have been celebrating Sue’s 56th birthday, it was bittersweet to be announcing that her legacy has now raised an incredible half-a-million pounds.”

Sue was diagnosed with lesions on the brain in November 2010 after being handed a cup of tea which she was inexplicably unable to grasp so it went straight through her hand. She underwent surgery on what turned out to be a glioblastoma (GBM), the most common, aggressive type of brain tumour among adults, and was given a survival prognosis of just six months to a year. Sadly, Sue died just six weeks later.

“When Sue was in hospital, there were two other brain tumour patients from the same Catholic parish of St Monica’s in Palmers Green also being treated, one young man was in the next room to her. Both later died.”

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 since records began in 2002.

David set up In Sue’s Name, a member charity of Brain Tumour Research, determined to make a difference and to bring hope to future families with loved ones affected by brain tumours.

The Winchmore Hill-based charity sponsors a PhD researcher, Myrianni Constantinou at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London, working in a team investigating more effective ways to treat patients diagnosed with a GBM brain tumour. Myrianni successfully completed her PhD thesis and is continuing her research to improve the understanding of genetic variations in glioblastoma with In Sue’s Name continuing to sponsor her postdoctoral research.

Just over a week ago, Dr Constantinou, who is Greek, attended an In Sue’s Name fundraiser at The Penridge Suite in New Southgate where 270 guests enjoyed a Greek-themed evening with dinner, music and dancing.

Dr Myrianni Constantinou, whose work is sponsored by In Sue's Name
Dr Myrianni Constantinou, whose work is sponsored by In Sue’s Name

Myrianni said: “Not only am I profoundly grateful to In Sue’s Name for sponsoring my research at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary, but their support also gives my work perspective and a deeper purpose, knowing that I’m working on glioblastoma, the very disease that tragically took Sue’s life.

“My ultimate aspiration is that through my work we can one day change the narrative for glioblastoma patients with such poor prognosis, and bring an end to people being told they probably only have months, rather than years, to live.

“Throughout my research, I developed 3D mini-brains tailored to individual patients, serving as a platform for testing different drug treatments for glioblastoma. Additionally, these models have enabled me to study the role of previously unexplored genes in glioblastoma initiation and maintenance.”

The Greek-themed fundraising event raised more than £31,000, making it the charity’s most successful to date.

Dan Knowles, CEO of Brain Tumour Research, said: “With just 12% of brain tumour patients surviving more than five years, compared to an average of 54% across all cancers, we’re really grateful to our member charity In Sue’s Name for its support in funding vital research at Queen Mary to get closer to a cure. And we offer huge congratulations on reaching £500,000 – a truly impactful amount.

“Our 24 member charities support brain tumour patients and carers, or fund research to find a cure for the devastating disease. Our collective voice carries greater weight in media coverage and adds weight to our political campaigning action, while helping us build a game-changing network of world-class research centres of excellence in the UK.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

To make a donation to In Sue’s Name:

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