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'No parent should have to go through losing a child...'.

Byline: Liz Day Reporter

A NURSE who lost her son to a brain tumour has raised hundreds of pounds, hoping to prevent other families going through the same "heartache".

Chris Desbois was 26 when he died from the illness two years ago and now his mum Dawn is determined to raise funds to help research into the disease.

The 55-year-old, from Danescourt, Cardiff, said: "Chris was always so fit and healthy - it was a huge shock."

Chris, who had trained as a bricklayer and was working for the MoD at St Athan, felt unwell suddenly in December 2011.

"He didn't really show any major symptoms," recalled Dawn. "Then one day, he collapsed and was rushed into hospital."

While he was in hospital, doctors carried out tests and sent them for analysis.

"When the results came back, they told us it was an aggressive brain tumour," said Dawn.

According to figures from The Brain Tumour Charity, just 19% of adults survive for five years following a brain tumour diagnosis.

Recalling the diagnosis, Dawn said: "They told us it was unpredictable. They explained they couldn't say for sure whether the treatment would work."

Chris, who lived in Penarth, started a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Eight months into his treatment, he married his partner Toni.

"Her children thought the world of him," said Dawn.

As his treatment progressed, the doctors realised Chris was not responding and he died in October 2013.

Dawn, who was named Wales' Nurse of the Year while working for Marie Curie, said: "Through my work and my father dying from cancer, I know what a devastating disease it is.

"But losing a child is out of the natural order of things and something no parent should go through."

According to research by the Brain Tumour Charity, more than 9,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour each year, including 500 children and young people. Brain tumours reduce life expectancy by an average of 20 years - the highest of any cancer.

Dawn has spent the past two years raising funds for the charity and recently completed a sponsored 10km walk with her friend Maggie Kavanagh.

"I want people to be aware of how awful the disease is," she said.

"It is important to me to raise money in Chris' memory to help research into this despicable disease to help stop other families going through the same heartache."

Figures show that more than 5,000 people die from brain tumours each year.

Geraldine Pipping, head of fundraising for the charity, said: "Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and people under 40 in the UK. But survival rates have not improved significantly over the last 40 years."

She added: "We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations, fundraisers and gifts in wills.

"It is through the efforts of fundraisers like Dawn that we can change these shocking statistics and bring hope to the thousands of people diagnosed each year."

The charity aims to double survival within 10 years and to halve the negative impact brain tumours have on quality of life.

www.thebraintu |


Chris Desbois with his |sister Vikki and brother

Richard as children

Dawn Desbois with her son Chris, who died two years ago after battling a brain tumour

Dawn Desbois raised more than PS300 for The Brain Tumour Charity by taking part in a |sponsored walk with her friend Maggie Dawn Desbois raised more than PS300 for The Brain Tumour Charity by taking part in a |sponsored walk with her friend Maggie
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 19, 2015
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