June 18, 2013, by Zoë Goodwin

Me, some research & a blog – The Clinical Series: Doing my bit for HeadSmart

Welcome to the first blog of the Clinical Series. To write this blog I needed to make a couple of decisions – what research I wanted to share, why I wanted to share it and how. In this case, this was easy. I didn’t need to do rummaging to find this work, it came to me.

I would like to introduce to you, HeadSmart. A campaign developed by the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Nottingham. HeadSmart, launched in 2011, aims to increase public awareness of brain tumour symptoms and campaigns for better research funding. This campaign was developed due to the poor fact that it takes longer for children and teenagers to be diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK than many other countries.

I was made aware of this campaign by seven remarkable friends who came to me with their story. They set off on a five day walk from York to Bardon on the 3rd June, a 110 mile journey in memory of a beautiful four year old boy, Alfi Mjeshtri who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in September 2011 and lost his battle three months later. During his illness, Alfi was treated at The Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham by Professor Richard Grundy, who jointly leads the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Halim Mjeshtri, Alfi’s father was joined by 6 of his close friends who all work at Eddie Stobart’s warehouse in Bardon. Halim said: “The centre doesn’t receive much funding and it’s important to keep the research going so others don’t suffer like Alfi did and tumours can be diagnosed earlier. The walk isn’t just about raising much needed funds but it’s to get awareness out there.”

I have a great respect for those individuals and families who have been through such suffering who instead of giving up, go on and do their best to make sure others don’t have to go through the same thing. Halim and his wife Suzanne are great examples of these kinds of fighters. So this is my little contribution to help raise awareness and give support to HeadSmart.

HeadSmart’s success so far has been evident. Recent figures from a two year update have shown that the average time it takes to diagnose a tumour has fallen from 9.1 weeks when the HeadSmart campaign was launched to 6.9 weeks. Their aim is to further reduce average diagnosis time to five weeks.

The Impact team, here at the University of Nottingham, have prioritised HeadSmart campaign and have produced an insightful video to inform you more about the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre which will help you become ‘More Brain Tumour Aware’.  To take a look, click here.

Posted in Biosciencespublic engagementresearch