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Sunday, June 20, 2021
Home Health Edgware mum heartbroken as pandemic thwarts plans to mark what would have...

Edgware mum heartbroken as pandemic thwarts plans to mark what would have been son’s birthday

A mother from Edgware who lost her son to a brain tumour is heart-broken that her dream to celebrate what would have been his 18th birthday has been impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Karen Carter’s son Charlie was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in March 2010 after months of ‘migraines’.

Charlie Carter-Bates

Despite surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, nothing could save Charlie and he passed away on 15 November the same year.

Since then, family and friends have raised tens of thousands of pounds for the charity Brain Tumour Research through Charlie Charges On, the Fundraising Group they set up in his memory.

Karen Carter and husband Dean Bates.

Karen, from Edgware, had always intended to mark what would have been Charlie’s 18th birthday with a giant fundraising fancy-dress party because Charlie loved dressing up.

Instead, the family are having to make do with letting off green balloons (Charlie’s favourite colour) from the memorial garden they have created in front of their home and eating green cakes made by one of Charlie’s teachers from Broadfields Primary School.

Mum to four other children, Karen said: “COVID has put a huge dampener on things and knocked on the head all our plans. There was so much we wanted to do to mark today; we had been planning it for years.

Karen’s four other children

“It’s really so sad we can’t celebrate this really important birthday how we wanted to. Charlie should have been the first of our children to reach adulthood. Instead, he will for ever be seven years old.

“I often think about how tall he would be now, whether he would be driving, what A Levels he would be taking this year and whether he would be going off to university in the autumn.

“It’s heart-breaking that we will never see him in a relationship, getting married or perhaps having children himself.

“We set up Charlie Charges On to help find a cure for other children diagnosed with this deadly disease and are proud to have been able to raise enough to sponsor the equivalent of two weeks of research at one of Brain Tumour Research’s Centres of Excellence. But nothing can bring back Charlie.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Dean Bates and Karen Carter

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research said: “Our hearts go out to Charlie’s family. Brain tumours disproportionately affect young people and are more lethal than other cancers.

“Just 12% of brain tumour patients survive beyond five years whereas, for cancers such as breast and leukaemia, the figures are 70% and 40% respectively because of greater investment for research in those areas.

“We will be thinking of Charlie’s family on 6 April on what would have been his 18th birthday and are so grateful to them for all they are doing in the fight to find a cure for brain tumours.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To donate in memory of Charlie go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charliechargeson