Luton Town FC is like family and when former team mate Paddy McCourt’s wife Laura was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year, the club stepped in to support Brain Tumour Research for the 2016-17 season.
Defender Frankie Musonda and midfielder Alex Atkinson were invited to an open day at the charity’s Milton Keynes HQ where they spoke to staff and supporters.
They heard about the disease’s traumatic impact on patients and their families and learned about the ground-breaking research taking place at the charity’s four Centres of Excellence around the country.
They said afterwards: “Even though we thought we knew about brain tumours after Laura was diagnosed, being at the open day has made us understand so much more.
“By meeting people who have been affected – either themselves or their families – we can see how devastated they are.
“So it’s really important that we, as a team, achieve our fundraising goal and help Brain Tumour Research find a cure.”
The Hatters are aiming to raise enough during the season to pay for a day of research at one of the Centres where laboratory-based scientists work towards a better understanding and, ultimately, a cure for brain tumours.
Each costs £1 million a year to run and the team’s efforts will be rewarded with a permanent memento on a Wall of Hope.
The charity’s chief executive Sue Farrington Smith said they had been delighted to welcome the players to the open day and that they would be helping raise awareness and funds.
She explained: “Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet only one percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.” And she added: “I hope they go back to their club and their team mates even more inspired to help us fund this fight.”
About 16,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour. Less than 20 percent survive more than five years, compared with an average of 50 percent across all cancers.
> More info at www.braintumourresearch.org