Family of mum who died of brain tumour urge support for research

Gemma Edgar and Barbara Relf wearing hats for Brain Tumour Awareness Month's fundraising day

Gemma Edgar and her mum, Barbara, supporting Wear A Hat Day in 2018 - Credit: Family of Gemma Edgar

The family of a Colchester mum-of-two who died of an incurable brain tumour is urging support for Brain Tumour Awareness Month. 

Gemma Edgar, a 33-year-old mum to two boys and paediatric nurse at Colchester General, died just before Christmas 2018. 

She had been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiform (GBM) when she was 29, eight weeks after giving birth to her second son, Noah. 

At the time she was given 18 months to live, although surgery and radiotherapy extended her prognosis.

She and her family began supporting Brain Tumour Research, raising tens of thousands of pounds for the charity that aims to find a cure for the devastating form of cancer.

Gemma Edgar, who died of a brain tumour.
Picture: STEVE ARGENT

Gemma Edgar, who died of a brain tumour. Picture: STEVE ARGENT - Credit: Archant

This year, Gemma's parents, Andy and Barbara Relf, have encouraged people to get involved in Wear A Hat Day on March 25, which marks the end of Brain Tumour Awareness Month. 

They said: "The coming month of March is Brain Tumour Awareness Month and our family knows only too well the devastation caused by brain tumours because we lost our beautiful daughter Gemma at the age of 33. 

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"Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease, according to Brain Tumour Research. 

"It would be great if your readers could help raise awareness and/or join in the fun of wearing a hat and donating to Brain Tumour Research to help find a cure."

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable UK research into the cancer, hoping to speed up treatment of tumours and to ultimately find a cure.

It also campaigns for the government and larger cancer charities to increase funding into research, seeking an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes.

Survival statistics released at the start of the month show brain tumours have a poorer survival rate than all other cancers except pancreatic.

Millions of pounds have been raised across the last decade of Wear A Hat Day, and registration for the 2022 campaign is open now.