A rider who is living with an incurable brain tumour is backing a petition hoped to help more people survive her condition.
Kelly Ann Andrews is urging people to join calls to increase national investment into brain tumour research.
The 43-year-old has previously told H&H she had just started work at a professional showjumping yard in Aberdeenshire when she noticed her first symptoms.
She was diagnosed with a slow-growing oligodendrogliom, in October 2015, and has since undergone surgery and had part of her skull replaced. She has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy since it was found her tumour had regrown, in 2017, and she credits her mare Aliyana for getting her through.
“My bond with Aliyana made me determined to recover as quickly as possible,” she said.
“Doctors had told me I wouldn’t be able to ride for a year, but I was back in the saddle after just seven months. I trusted Aliyana would look after me and I’ve found she always seems to know when I’m tired and works extra hard for me.”
Kelly Ann has now created a video appeal, with charity Brain Tumour Research, asking people to sign its petition to increase the national investment into brain tumour research to £35 million a year.
The charity says this would bring funding on a par with that for other cancers such as leukaemia and breast and prostate cancer. Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.
Kelly Ann said: “I’m determined to make the most of whatever the future holds for me, my husband and my beloved horse. The uncertainty makes it very difficult for my mental health though, and I’m having to take things very slowly.
“Brain tumour research is badly under-funded and treatments are gruelling. The Government must commit to spending more to help scientists find effective treatments – that are hopefully also less debilitating – and one day, a cure.
‘She always seems to know when I’m tired and works extra-hard for me’
‘The vet said it was the biggest tumour he’d ever seen, especially because of her size’
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“It’s so important that as many people as possible back Brain Tumour Research’s petition; increasing the national spend on brain tumour research will make a big difference towards helping more people survive.”
Charity spokesman Hugh Adams added: “Brain tumours still kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet despite promises of increased investment in research from the Government and larger cancer charities, we are still not seeing parity of funding with other cancers such as breast, prostate and leukaemia. This is not acceptable and we will continue to push for change until this injustice has been resolved.
“We are grateful to the many people who have already signed our petition and the families who continue to share their heartbreaking stories to help us raise awareness and to drive change.”
The charity is aiming to get 100,000 signatures by March, which is national brain tumour awareness month.
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