The family of a woman who died of brain cancer just three months after her wedding have raised thousands in her memory.

Michelle Noakes, 38, was diagnosed with an aggressive and inoperable brain stem glioma in November 2019 after seeking help for dizzy spells and tingling sensations in her face and hands.

She had experienced the symptoms on the morning of her wedding - and after diagnosis, her condition rapidly progressed.

Michelle, who grew up near Honiton in Devon before moving to Bow, East London, sought treatment through the NHS, as well as privately - but by 2021, she had lost nearly all of her speech, vision and mobility.

Michelle passed in June 2021, 19 months after her diagnosis and just before her 40th birthday.

Her family has since raised £7k in her memory.

“On the morning of her wedding to the love of her life, Simon, Michelle mentioned having a tingly feeling in her face a bit like pins and needles," said Michelle's sister, Sam Williams.

"I remember Mum encouraging her not to worry about it and she advised her to see a GP once the wedding was over.

“Their wedding was such a happy occasion, full of love. 

"We feel grateful that we didn’t know about Michelle’s brain tumour before then.”

Midweek Herald: Michelle's family has raised £7k in her memory.Michelle's family has raised £7k in her memory. (Image: SWNS)

“Our whole family scoured the internet for medical trials or cutting-edge treatments that might offer just a glimmer of hope after countless dead ends. 

"All of which came with a huge price tag. She managed one round of immunotherapy which cost tens of thousands of pounds that people donated to us so generously. 

"Even if this just gave her a little more time with her family it was worth it.”

Michelle has left behind husband Simon, and children Otto, 6, and Poppy, 3.

Since Michelle’s death, family members including her two siblings, Sam and Simon Williams, parents David and Julia Williams, and widower, Simon Noakes, have held an annual music festival near Culmstock in Devon, raising more than £7,100 for the charity Brain Tumour Research.

The event, known as M-Fest, was a showcase of local musicians, a fitting tribute to music-loving Michelle, and an occasion for more than 200 people to come together in celebration.

Sam said: “It’s been a real group effort to reach such a significant fundraising total. 

"A lot of the money was raised at M-Fest but other family members have done sponsored runs, including Holly Williams – Michelle’s sister-in-law. 

"The local community have rallied around us. Michelle’s husband, Simon, has received huge support from his work too.”

The family were invited yesterday (1 May) to the labs at Queen Mary University of London, led by principal investigator Professor Silvia Marino, and speak to the team about their work to find a cure for brain cancer.

They spoke to scientists about their work to find a cure for the disease and placed two tiles on the Wall of Hope, representative of the £2,740 it costs to fund each day of research at one of the charity’s four Centres of Excellence.

Sam said: “It was really inspiring meeting the scientists, hearing how much progress has been made in recent years since the centre was started. 

"It was bittersweet seeing Michelle's tiles on the wall of hope but we were really pleased to see her remembered in this way alongside all the other people lost to brain tumours.
“As a family we feel that the treatment options the NHS have available are just not good enough. It’s absolutely essential that there is more funding for research into treatment for brain tumours, so that ultimately the NHS can do more to help people who face this stark diagnosis, and families do not find themselves having to desperately search for private or alternative treatments.
“Michelle was such a kind, thoughtful, hardworking and fun-natured person and she absolutely loved being a mum. 

"One of her last requests was that we share her story to raise awareness. 

"Typical of Michelle, she was thinking of others and hoping that her story might help prevent other children losing their mum too.”

Louise Aubrey, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re really grateful to Michelle’s family for their incredible support and generosity in her memory. 

"We hope their visit to our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London offered a useful insight into all we’re doing to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure.
“Just 12% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 54% across all cancers, yet, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002. 

"This has to change.”