Surrey County Council’s leader said his focus “for the rest of his life” will be fulfilling a promise made to his daughter before she died to fundraise for brain tumour research.
Emily Oliver was 21 when she died, 18 months after being diagnosed with a diffuse midline glioma, and after seeking medical advice “from across the world”.
Her father, county council leader Councillor Tim Oliver, said the fund the family set up for her 21st birthday was now nearing £150,000 but vowed to continue to raise awareness and money.
He told the LDRS: “We promised Emily that we would do all that we could. We promised her that we would fundraise for what she wanted, specific research into her type of high grade glioblastoma. Hers was a very, very rare form.
“That is our focus and that will be our focus for the rest of our lives, to raise as much as we can and to find a research team that will look at predominantly her type [of brain tumour].”
Cllr Oliver said brain tumours didn’t get the level of attention or funding as other types of cancer, because the number of cases was not as high, but said they were the biggest cause of cancer death for under 40s.
He said he and his wife, Debi, hoped to find a specific research project in the near future to give the money to. “It’s really important to us that we continue to keep that alive and deliver on that promise to her,” he added.
The council leader also has his sights set on creating a Surrey-wide bereavement service and has been having conversations about it with the chief executive at Surrey Heartlands and Surrey hospices.
He said “pulling together” the different organisations that offer support for both before and after death would help people know where to turn.
Cllr Oliver added: “I think that would be a great thing for people to be able to know where to go.” He also praised the work of the Brain Tumour Charity and the support they give to families on what their journey may look like and understanding what their diagnosis actually meant.
He will take part in the Princess Alice Hospice’s “Talk the Walk” event in April which aims to get men, in particular, to talk about bereavement.
Debi said: “The pain of her loss is with us every minute of every day, but Emily was passionate about fundraising to find a cure for brain tumours, and I absolutely know she would be really pleased that what she had started is being continued.”
Cllr Oliver also called on the government to deliver on its promise of delivering £40million for research into brain tumours.
An inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours was launched in 2021, and said that as of January 25 2023, just £15 million had been awarded since June 2018.
For advice and support from the Brain Tumour Charity, you can call its Support and Info Line on 0808 800 0004 or go to the website at: https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/
Image Tim Oliver credit Surrey Live