'It took nine months to get my son's brain tumour diagnosed'

Miles Davis... undergoing radiotherapy for brain tumour that developed when he was just five.

Miles Davis... undergoing radiotherapy for brain tumour that developed when he was just five. - Credit: Davis family

Researchers at Queen Mary University who are battling to find a cure for childhood brain tumours have been given cash to help their work by a couple whose son survived the disease.

The Brain Tumour Research charity at Whitechapel’s Centre of Excellence campus, where Professor Silvia Marino and her group are studying the disease, has been given £144,000.

Miles and the family after his survival

Miles and the family after his survival - Credit: Davis Family

The donation comes from the Children’s Brain Tumour Foundation charity set up by Cheryl and Paul Davis, whose son Miles was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of five.  

“Miles was one of the lucky ones, although it took nine months of vomiting and losing weight for us to get a diagnosis,” Cheryl explained. 

“He had surgery twice to remove a brain tumour and had chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. Many other families aren’t so fortunate.” 

Miles - now 16 with a twin brother Edward and an older brother Lucas, 19 - is in his GCSE year at school.  

The couple joined doctors, researchers and other parents to raise awareness and fund research. 

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Cheryl added: “We feel so lucky that Miles is a brain tumour survivor and is doing so well. So many families we came to know through his treatment have lost children.

"Of six kids diagnosed around the same time as Miles, only two are left. One boy passed away just two years ago, which was very tough for Miles.” 

Mum and dad Cheryl and Paul with their three sons Edward, Miles, and Lucas and family pet dog, of course

Mum and dad Cheryl and Paul with their three sons Edward, Miles, and Lucas... and the family pet dog, of course - Credit: Davis Family

The family were shocked to learn how little research was taking place due to a lack of funding and that the treatment protocol for brain tumours had been written as long ago as 1999. 

They are now winding up their charity after nine years, and donating the balance of their fundraising to Brain Tumour Research. The money will pay for a four-year PhD student to work with Professor Marino at Queen Mary. 

Brain Tumour Research chief executive Sue Farrington Smith said: “Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Yet, historically, just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.” 

The cash donated by the family's charity increases the research capacity at Whitechapel and looks into further breakthroughs in the fight against childhood brain tumours. 

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