Swansea University goes hatty for Brain Tumour Research

A student who lost both his father and grandfather to brain tumours has inspired Swansea University to take part in a charity event to help find a cure for the disease.

Students at Swansea University’s Medical School have signed up to take part in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Wear A Hat Day, the UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event.

Undergraduates and their tutors will flood the campus with a sea of hats, from beanies to cowboy hats, trilbies to Panamas, baseball caps to novelty headpieces. They are participating in the fundraiser, which takes place on Friday 29 March, in support of fellow student Christopher Grey, from Swansea.

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Christopher was 11 years old when his dad Jeffrey Grey, of Swansea, was diagnosed with a brain tumour on Valentine’s Day in 2012. Despite enduring chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Jeffrey died just eight months later, aged 54, leaving his partner Catherine, his three children and his stepdaughter. Tragically, Christopher’s granddad, Wyndham Grey, also died of a brain tumour in November 2010.

Christopher, now 18, has been a tireless fundraiser for the charity over the years and has raised more than £5,000 for Brain Tumour Research with numerous events, such as a fancy-dress evening, and a sponsored climb of Pen y Fan. He has also campaigned in order to raise awareness of the disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Applied Medical Sciences student Christopher said:

“I’m so grateful to everyone at the university for supporting me and I hope we get the whole campus involved with Wear A Hat Day. It’s amazing to think just how much we could raise if everyone brings in even a small donation and I would like to encourage other businesses, schools and universities to take part too.

“Losing my father and grandfather to this devastating disease when I was so young was heart-breaking, and I’m motivated me to raise as much as I can for Brain Tumour Research. I’ve really enjoyed fundraising over the years and, alongside Wear A Hat Day, I also plan to complete a sponsored trek up Snowdon in September.

“I was inspired to study applied medical sciences at university because of my experience with brain tumours. I’m really interested in learning about cancer and the mechanisms behind the disease and, as I particularly enjoy being in the lab, I’m considering a career in medical research.”

Carrie Bater, Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research in the Midlands and Wales, said:

“It’s touching that the students and staff at Swansea University are so committed to fundraising to support Christopher.

“Sadly, Jeffrey and Wyndham’s stories are not uncommon. Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years. We cannot allow this desperate situation to continue. We are thankful for Christopher’s ongoing support and we hope that he inspires others to take part in Wear A Hat Day.”

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Wear A Hat Day has raised over a million pounds since by Brain Tumour Research was launched 10 years ago and is the culmination of Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March. The big day will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in fun events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life-saving research.

Funds raised will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK where scientists are focused in improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure.

To donate to Christopher’s JustGiving page, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Christopher-Grey1