The parents of Corby’s ‘Cat in a Hat’ were at Westminster for the launch of a new inquiry.
Rab and Margo Anderson joined other families, patients, campaigners and charity workers at the invitation of the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons and a patron of the national charity Brain Tumour Research.
The inquiry, which will investigate the economic and social impacts of the disease, was opened will run throughout spring and summer.
Rab and Margo, who travelled from their home in Kettering, were among the first to be invited to submit their evidence on a web forum facilitated by the charity.
Their daughter Cat, who lived in Uppingham and was raised in Corby, was diagnosed with an aggressive and incurable brain tumour in 2014 and, after surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, seemed to be doing well.
Tragically, she died on June 14 last year, aged just 38.
Following her diagnosis Cat and her family set up the fundraising group Cat in a Hat, and Cat, family members and friends took part in a number of events to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research.
Since her passing, family and friends have continued her legacy. To date, they have raised almost £15,000 in her memory.
Rab said: “I think it is hard to fully understand the impact a brain tumour diagnosis has on your family unless you’ve been through it.
“For example, when Cat was having radiotherapy treatment, we had a round trip of over 100 miles to Cambridge and back every day.
“The emotional burden is hard, there is the worry about money and disruption to work, the life of Cat’s son, Robert, who is now 19, as well as so many other things to think of.”
In a nod to Wear A Hat Day, the fundraising campaign which takes place on March 29, model Caprice and other celebrity supporters including TV presenter Sarah Beeny and celebrated milliner Noel Stewart, Rab and Margo donned their favourite headwear for a photo call.
The lack of investment in research into brain tumours, meaning treatments and survival rates lag significantly behind other cancers, has become a high-profile political issue with momentum building since January.
Former Minister for Public Health and Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, who was diagnosed with a high grade glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) last year, received a standing ovation when she shared her story in the House of Lords.
The following month, the Government published the findings of a year-long working group including recommendations on how to increase the level and impact of research in brain tumours.
An announcement revealing £45m of research investment followed.
Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Brain tumours have been a neglected form of cancer for decades, killing more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
“This inquiry will shine a light on the social and economic impacts of brain tumours adding weight to our arguments and landing a huge urgency to our call for further funding to improve patient outcomes and offer much-needed hope to families.
“While we welcome the funding announcement, the fact that the funds are spread over five years means that brain tumours remain a poor relation to other better-funded cancers.”
To take part in the inquiry go to www.braintumourresearch.org/campaigning/inquiry.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 30.