September 16, 2017, by studentcontributor
Fundraising for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre
If you enjoyed doing charity work throughout your time at school, there’s no reason to give up this passion once you arrive at university! In fact, when I arrived in Nottingham two years ago, I was amazed at the variety of options available; whether you would like to donate your time or raise money, there are so many ways to get involved.
UoN500 – Robin Hood Half Marathon
I just finished my second year in June, and with the start of clinical placement looming I realised that this summer was my last long break whilst at medical school! Naturally, I had to try and make it worthwhile, and one thing that came to mind was running a half marathon. After my first half marathon four years ago, I didn’t do much running as I wasn’t really motivated. When I heard the university was trying to put together a team of 500 students, staff, and alumni to run the Robin Hood Half Marathon to raise funds for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC), it was the impetus I needed. I laced up my running shoes and decided to join the “UoN 500”.
Brain tumour research
Throughout my fundraising, I have learned a lot about the amazing work that the CBTRC does. Brain tumours are currently the largest cause of cancer deaths amongst people under 40 in the UK1, and although survival rates are improving, the aggressive treatment required often leaves patients with disabilities. Since 1997, the CBTRC, based at the University of Nottingham, has been working to change this. Some of their research works to improve the understanding of how tumours develop, which can then help to predict tumour behaviour. They are also investigating specific tumour markers, which can determine whether a patient may be more likely to respond to a particular type of treatment, helping to develop the best possible treatment plan for each individual.
Another area that they are focusing on is improving the diagnosis and management of brain tumours in children. Because brain tumours are so rare and access to brain scans is so limited, children offer suffer with symptoms for months before being accurately diagnosed. The CBTRC have written guidelines to help raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals about brain tumours in children so that they are better able to recognise them. The “HeadSmart” campaign aims to increase awareness among the general public by distributing materials about the symptoms typical of brain tumours to local schools, nurseries, GP surgeries and even toy shops. The campaign has been extremely successful, halving the average time of diagnosis2 and hence improving the prognosis for many children!
Unfortunately, total national spending allocated to brain tumours was reduced in 2015 to only 1.37%3, meaning that the CBTRC relies on donations and research grants to continue its work. When I realised this sad reality, it motivated me to increase my fundraising efforts. On some (okay- most!) mornings when I woke up for my training runs, I was incredibly tempted to go back to bed. However, remembering the great cause that I was running for made it much easier to take the first few steps out the door (which many would argue are the most difficult).
Make a donation
I am almost halfway to reaching my fundraising goal of £300, so if you would like to make a donation, the details of my JustGiving page can be found below: justgiving.com/fundraising/nabeela-bhaloo. Any donations are greatly appreciated, no matter how small. After all, every single donation triples the research funding that the CBTRC receives as it attracts further external grants4!
If you would like to help fundraise for the CBTRC, there are lots of opportunities coming up. The first is the Superhero Walk, a family-friendly 5 km fancy-dress walk throughout University Park, taking place on October 1st.
For those who are feeling particularly adventurous, there are even fundraising treks across the Great Wall of China, and up Kilimanjaro! If none of those sound appealing, you can even organise your own event.
Visit the Impact Campaign website (nottingham.ac.uk/impactcampaign/index.aspx) for more details.
Written by Nabeela Bhaloo, 3rd Year, Medicine