Jack's legacy helps fund vital brain tumour research

10-year-old Jack D'Lima, who died of a brain tumour 

10-year-old Jack D'Lima, who died of a brain tumour - Credit: Beverley D'Lima

An Axminster woman who lost her 10-year-old son to a brain tumour says it's 'comforting and exciting' that £103,000 raised in his memory is helping to fund research into a cure.

After Jack D'Lima passed away in 2005 his family set up Jack’s Goal, a fundraising group for the charity Ali’s Dream. Ali's Dream was founded in memory of seven-year old Alison Phelan who died of a DIPG brain tumour in 2001. The charity has just provided £250,000 to support research at the Queen Mary University of London. 

Jack’s mother Beverley said: “It’s comforting and exciting to know that Jack’s legacy is helping to fund research into paediatric brain tumours, including ependymoma, the type of tumour Jack battled.” 

The funding from Ali's Dream will pay for a four-year fellowship at the Centre of Excellence within Queen Mary University, strengthening the team already working on identifying more effective treatments for aggressive paediatric brain tumours.

Earlier this year, the university team led by Professor Silvia Marino published a paper announcing a breakthrough in the approach to the treatment of a paediatric brain tumour. It is now hoped that the findings of this ground-breaking work could inform treatments for DIPG, which, like high-grade medulloblastomas, are the most common brain cancers seen in young children. 

Silvia Marino said: “This donation from Ali’s Dream will be instrumental in helping us to further our understanding of a number of high-grade paediatric brain tumours such as medulloblastoma, DIPG and ependymoma. The main treatments available to children with these brain tumours today remain, as they have for decades, surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 

“These treatments can be effective and kill the tumour cells but can also result in severe side effects affecting the child’s physical and intellectual development, with hearing and visual disturbances, growth and hormonal changes, reduced fertility, behavioural changes, learning problems, difficulties with coordination and secondary cancers. In the case of DIPG, however, these current treatments invariably fail. 

For more information about Jack's Goal and the fundraising campaign, or to make a donation, visit the Jack's Goal JustGiving page.

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