A Masters student from Luton, who bonded with pop star Tom Parker after they were both diagnosed with the same type of brain tumour, has died.
Following her shock diagnosis during lockdown, Amani Liaquat, 23, a first-class honours law graduate, became a staunch campaigner and fundraiser with the charity Brain Tumour Research. Her social media profile attracted a strong following and led to her friendship with The Wanted star Tom, who was also diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
After standard of care failed to stop the growth of her tumour, Amani’s family decided to source life-prolonging treatment from Germany for which they, with the help of relatives, friends and complete strangers, raised more than £100,000 in 24 hours.
The death of the brave young woman - whose condition had deteriorated markedly since being told in November there were no further treatment options available - was announced by her parents online this morning (February 21).
In a post on his @Khuram1972 Twitter account, Amani’s father, Khuram said: “Our beautiful daughter Amani breathed her last this morning at 12.30am. She fought GBM4 for 22 months but alas without proper investment, she had no chance. She’s my hero and was the most amazing ambassador for Brain Tumour Research. Love you forever Amani!”
Writing on her @fight4amani Instagram page, Amani’s mother, Yasmin said: “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi Rajioon (Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return).
“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our precious daughter Miss Amani Liaquat. Beloved eldest daughter of Khuram Liaquat and Yasmin Stannard and sister of Ruqayyah and Maleehah Liaquat.
“Amani passed away after a 22-month courageous battle with terminal brain cancer. May Allah have mercy upon her, forgive her, allow our family to draw closer to Allah, give her a high place in Jannatul Firdaus, and reunite us all there together, Ameen.”
Amani was a much-loved supporter of Brain Tumour Research and an integral part of the charity’s #BrainTumourPetition and Stop the Devastation campaigns. She also undertook numerous fundraising and campaigning activities, including organising Luton’s first ever Walk of Hope in September and setting up the Fight4Hope fundraising group.
Her candid Chat2Amani podcasts, hosted on the Fight4Amani YouTube channel, were also well-received with thousands of people tuning in to follow her brain tumour journey as she explored issues such as loneliness and faith and interviewed Tom in one episode.
Just last week, Amani was awarded a Master of Science (MSc) in Applied Social Welfare, with Distinction from the University of Bedfordshire. A special ceremony was carried out at her home last Tuesday (February 15), attended by university staff and Amani’s closest family members.
The news has been met with an outpouring of tributes on social media, including many from those within the brain tumour community who were inspired by Amani’s unwavering strength and courage.
On Instagram Shamemii1 said: “I’m so sorry for your loss. She seemed like such a beautiful and awe inspiring soul and she did touch the lives of so many. I really felt like I knew her and she inspired me with her strength and fight for research. Until you meet again. May Allah grant her the highest abode and you all patience. Sending so much love and prayers x.”
On Twitter @JenWillis888 said: “Oh Khuram. I cannot find the words. Your daughter Amani was a truly beautiful soul. I type this through tears. She achieved so much despite her diagnosis. To have done so much – her Law degree, Masters & proactive brain tumour advocate. She was amazing. I am so sorry.”
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.
Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations for Brain Tumour Research, said: “This tragic news has had a huge impact on those of us at Brain Tumour Research who had the privilege to know Amani and her extraordinary family. Amani’s story touched everyone who heard it, and that she was prepared to share so much of herself with others speaks volumes of the person she was.
“We cannot overstate just how many people now know about this vicious disease through Amani’s bravery and her commitment to make a difference by campaigning and raising awareness. She and her family spoke out at time when it would have been easier for them to retreat and for that, along with our sadness, we have such respect and admiration for this remarkable young woman who has left us far too soon. Her legacy will be with us and drive us on 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. The charity is the driving force behind the call 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 support Amani’s Fight4Hope fundraising group, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/Fight4Hope