The family of a young patient who sadly lost her battle against an aggressive brain tumour have raised a quarter of a million pounds to help research and treat the condition.
Charlotte Eades was 16 when she was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, a fast-growing and rare form of brain cancer. During her illness, Charlotte fought to raise awareness of cancer in young people and kept a video blog to document her life with the condition.
Charlotte along with her mother and brother – Alex and Miles – established the charity Charlotte’s BAG, which stands for Charlotte’s Battle Against Glioblastoma, and also a nod to her love of handbags. The charity raises money for research into the condition to help other children, teenagers and young adults with the condition.
Sadly, Charlotte was just 19 when she died in 2016 but fundraising continued and the charity has donated around £250,000 to King’s, contributing significantly to the brain tumour service.
The money has been spent developing a laboratory; employing a scientist in neuropathology to help with whole genome sequencing of children with brain tumours; and helping establish liquid biopsies, which uses blood and cerebrospinal fluid to inform clinicians about the nature of a tumour rather than taking a traditional biopsy.
Professor Safa Al-Sarraj, Head of Clinical Neuropathology at King’s, said, “The donation from Charlotte's BAG has helped us introduce genetic tests and significantly improved the way in which we diagnose children with brain tumours. We are now working to introduce the new technique of cell-free DNA analysis on patients with brain tumours, which will not only further improve diagnoses but also guide clinical teams on the best way to manage the condition.”
To commemorate the awareness raising carried out by Charlotte, and the fundraising carried forward by her family, a new clinical and research role at King’s has been named in her honour. The Charlotte Eades Academic and Clinical Fellowship in Neurosurgery has been established to focus on brain and spine tumours on children and young adults. The role will support research, trials and publications in neurosurgery, with the vast majority focusing on the surgical management of brain cancer.
Mr Bassel Zebian, Consultant Neurosurgeon, said: “The fellowship is awarded in Charlotte's name because of the impact she had on us all, and through the great work of the charity, we have been able to create a lab and fund a scientist at King's. The fellowship reminds us of the individuality of our patients, which go far beyond their diagnosis, whilst working hard to improve treatment and outcomes.”