A MOTHERWELL woman is raising funds to research a rare form of cancer, before it claims her life.
Last September Charlene McEwan suffered a massive brain haemorrhage resulting in emergency surgery which revealed the cause to be a tumour in the right frontal lobe of her brain.
Neurosurgeons at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow were able to remove the tumour in full, but a week later Charlene (30) was given devastating news.
She said: “After further tests I was dealt the terrifying blow that I have an incurable cancer.
“And although my disease could be put into remission with treatment it will absolutely return in the future, possibly more aggressive than before and the long-term survival rates are low.
“I was thrown into complete turmoil. My husband Tosh and I had just celebrated our first wedding anniversary, we had just bought our dream home and were planning our first child.
“I had basically gone from having a near perfect life to living in the depths of despair but after a short time digesting my prognosis, I decided that I wanted to fight this thing that had so rudely interrupted my life.”
Charlene is currently five months into a further sixth month chemotherapy cycle and her last brain scan in May was all clear.
Brain cancer is the second rarest form in Lanarkshire with the five-plus years survival rate for when Charlene’s does return sitting at just 14 per cent, barely any different than it was four decades ago.
Brain tumours receive a mere 0.7 per cent of funds allocated to cancer research in the UK, prompting Professor Anthony Chalmers of The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre to launch the University of Glasgow Brain Tumour Research Fund.
Charlene, who now lives in Morningside, said: “The fact that unlike many cancers the survival rates for brain tumours have not significantly improved in Britain for over 40 years while receiving less than one per cent of the funding is woeful to say the very least.
“The neuro-oncology team at The Beatson are angels, not only highly skilled and professional, but supportive and sensitive towards their patients and their families and outwardly passionate about what they do.
“Sadly I can see the frustration in them at the limitations around funding for research and this has inspired me to want to make a difference.”
Charlene is aiming to raise around £10,000 to boost Professor Chalmers’s research.
A fundraising night takes place at Fir Park on Saturday, August 18, while Cambusnethan Talbot under 19s football team are organising a charity match and a ‘spinathon’ is being held at the Aquatec.
Then in September Charlene and Tosh will be joined by a group of friends to take part in the Bank Of Scotland Great Scottish Run 10K, with further events planned.
Charlene said: “I had actually kept the life-limiting nature of my disease secret until now.
“But I am dedicated to doing all I possibly can to raise funds for the University of Glasgow Brain Tumour Research Fund and to raising awareness of brain cancers.
“I realise that sharing my story is vital to do this and I have faith that if they receive enough funding then these amazing researchers and clinicians will make the breakthrough to give people like me a chance for a future.”
If you would like to support Charlene visit her Just Giving page