News & Media

Riding to raise funds for brain tumour research

Tim Oliver is taking part in his third Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in 2019 to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity after his daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with diffused midline glioma in January 2018.

Tim says: “She [Emily] started feeling ill at Christmas while home from studying nursing at Nottingham University. It looked like labyrinthitis but our GP immediately referred us to hospital and, a few days later, they told us it was an aggressive, grade four brain tumour and she wouldn’t live beyond three months.”

Emily, 21, initially had radiotherapy, a six-week dose in just six days, then she was moved to the Royal Marsden Hospital where she had chemotherapy. She was also prescribed a high dose of steroids.

Tim says: “When Tessa Jowell spoke out about her brain tumour, I managed to speak to her husband who said she’d been for treatment in the US, then Germany so we did that same route.”

Emily saw a consultant in Los Angeles and was referred to a teaching hospital in Germany where they took DNA from the tumour to create a vaccine.

Tim says: “We went over in October to start treatment then every month until February this year where they also tried another trial drug to slow down growth of the tumour.

“But in April Emily started to deteriorate and was admitted to the Royal Surrey for a few weeks then discharged to hospice. The tumour has now regrown to a point it will end her life.”

Tim is leader of Surrey County Council and vice president of the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. The funds raised from taking part in Prudential RideLondon will be split between the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and The Brain Tumour Charity, which Emily has raised funds for herself.

“They’re both fantastic causes,” Tim says. “With the BTC, I want to try and raise the profile of this horrible disease. Emily has the rarest form of tumour which is untreatable at the moment.

“The BTC is researching into causes and cures but because the numbers are so small, this kind of research doesn’t get the same level of funding. I want to raise the profile so there will be more research and, hopefully, a cure.

“It’s too late for Emily but, hopefully, not for someone else. I want to focus my energies on helping others not have to go through the same pain as us.”