Astro Brain Tumour Fund was founded in April 2001 in order to focus purely on low-grade glioma brain tumours, and in particular:
- raise funds for research and support projects
- gather and share information,
- raise awareness of the challenges of living with a low-grade brain tumour
- and offer support to those whose lives are touched by this tumour type.
From small beginnings…
Astro Brian Tumour Fund was founded by Katie Sheen, whose sister’s husband Paul Chamberlain was diagnosed with a low-grade astrocytoma in December 2000 at age 30. Shocked to discover that there was no low-grade glioma (LGG) research in the UK at the time, Katie was determined to raise money and encourage more LGG research, whilst offering hope, information and support to other families living under the same pressures. Sadly, Paul passed away on 7th March 2006, after a truly inspiring life.
“Astro Brain Tumour Fund” was suggested by Paul, who thought it ironic that a brain cell as beautiful as an astrocyte could cause so many problems when it became an astrocytoma, the tumour he was diagnosed with. “Astro” means star, and the name was chosen to reflect what he and the rest of our family hoped Astro Brain Tumour Fund would become – a light in the darkness for those similarly diagnosed.
Thanks to the incredible efforts of everyone who has raised money under the Astro Brain Tumour Fund banner, we have funded eight medical research projects into low-grade gliomas since our foundation, covering both adult and pediatric types, and have also supported a number of qualitative research initiatives. We have also sent regular donations to support the Brain Tumour Research Low-Grade Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth, where Professor Oliver Hanemann leads a number of studies related to low-grade tumours.
We openly welcome researchers to contact the low-grade brain tumour community through Astro Brain Tumour Fund, and are happy to advertise opportunities for patients, carers, friends and families with direct experience of this tumour type to help change the future for the better.
Astro Brain Tumour Fund is a founder member of the International Brain Tumour Alliance (the IBTA), formed in May 2005 to improve links between Brain Tumour charities, patients, carers, and health professionals throughout the World. Via the IBTA and other Cancer forums, we actively seek to improve public awareness of the specific challenges faced by people living with low-grade brain tumours, and to encourage the international exchange of information about the possible causes, management and treatment of this type of brain tumour.
In December 2018 the founder of Astro Brain Tumour Fund, Katie Sheen, took the difficult decision to retire from the charity alongside her mother, Secretary Christine Forecast. Retiring at the same time was Martin Segal, who had been working alongside Katie since 2001.
Present Trustees Mary Burton, Linda Rickford, Robbie Burton, Angela Scrutton, Kathleen Ferry, Teresa Jordan and Sam Hopkins are carrying on the invaluable work of the charity. Mary has been treasurer/trustee since Astro Brain Tumour Fund was registered with the Charity Commission in 2009, initiating the registration process. Together with husband Robbie, she is very passionate about the cause and determined to carry on with vital fundraising and administering the charity, together with the other trustees, on a daily basis. Linda, as well as fundraising has stepped up to the role of Secretary and also moderates the popular closed Facebook page in which brain tumour patients, their friends and family offer support and share their experiences with each other. Angela and Linda regularly attend All Party Parliamentary Group meetings at Westminster whilst Sam is in charge of grant applications. Teresa audits the annual accounts and completes the annual report each year. Sam is involved in applying for grants and was instrumental in setting up our new website which went live in January 2021.