Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer, yet receive less than 2% of the cancer research funding in the UK and survival times have improved little over the past 40 years. Please help me to raise funds for vital research so that we can fight for a future where no more bright young lives like my incredible husband Michael are lost to this cruel disease.
In January 2014, our world was turned upside down when Michael was rushed to hospital after having a seizure and following a number of scans we were given the devastating news that he had a brain tumour. He bravely faced two rounds of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but ultimately his condition could not be cured and became more aggressive. He died at home in February 2016, just a few weeks after his 35th birthday.
The bravery and courage Michael showed throughout his illness was truly inspirational, and I am so proud of my incredible husband. He faced each new treatment with a spring in his step, refusing to let his illness define him or to believe any reality other than that he would get better and live out our dreams together. To watch Michael face each day with such positivity and strength of character, and then be told there was nothing more we could do to save him, was simply devastating.
Since losing Michael, I began to read more about brain tumours and survival statistics and I was horrified to see how underfunded research into brain tumours is, and how little progress has been made in improving prognosis. I read so many stories of other bright young people just like my Michael whose lives were cut short, and of other families devastated by the loss of their loved ones who had set up funds in their name through The Brain Tumour Charity to keep their memory alive and to keep fighting, and suddenly I felt less alone.
I want there to be a future where no more lives are lost to this cruel disease, and so I am committing to fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity through The Michael Barry Fund in the hope that there might one day be a cure. Initially, any funds raised for The Michael Barry Fund will be used by The Brain Tumour Charity for its general charitable purposes, which include funding vital research, raising awareness and providing support. If we can raise £10,000, any future funds will be designated solely towards funding for High Grade Tumour Research to help improve the way tumours are diagnosed and treated, and to hopefully one day find a cure.
I have been incredibly touched by all of the wonderful tributes to Michael since we lost him, and the common theme is always that our lives are richer for having Michael in them as he was the kind of guy who brought people together, made every moment more special and brought out the best in all of us. I hope The Michael Barry Fund will be a way for everyone who knew and loved Michael to unite in his legacy and keep his bright spirit alive.
I have lots of fundraising ideas and hope you will all join me in raising as much as we can for this incredibly important cause. To start with, I am aiming to release a range of products soon which are based on Michael’s own designs and sketches, and I am also working on a number of fundraising events such as gigs, creative workshops and craft/vintage fairs. I will post updates when things are up and running both here and on the Facebook page for the fund (facebook.com/themichaelbarryfund). If you have any fundraising ideas of your own please do let me know, whether it be taking part in a sponsored walk or run, organising your own event or designing a product we can sell – the more ideas the better! You can also use this page to donate directly to the fund, and any donations however small will be hugely appreciated.