A West Row nurse who cares for terminally ill children has taken on one of the country’s most challenging audiences, calling on MPs to invest more in brain tumour research.
Harry Taylor, an end-of-life care nurse for the East Anglia Children’s Hospice in Milton, treats brain tumour children in the final months of their life and well understands the disease’s devastating effects.
She joined patients and their families, carers, scientists and charities at a reception at Westminster on March 17 to present a new manifesto, entitled Inveset In A Cure, from the Brain Tumour Charity to politicians.
Harry was a guest speakers at the reception, held at Speaker’s House, official residence of the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, the charity’s patron.
A paediatric neuroscience nurse of 20 years, Harry said her work on the neurosurgery ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, and the oncolgy department at Addenbrooke’s Hospital had given her a vital understanding of the disease in children.
“Understanding the impact of the tumours, surgery and treatment is essential to nursing these children and for symptom management in children dying from a brain tumour,” she said.
“I have seen many children lose their battle and this can only be described as tragic, but it is an honour to know them and their families.
“We need to fight for more funding so cures for all tumours can be found and their lives were not in vain.”
During her address on the new manifesto, Harry shared the shocking fact that brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer, but just 1% of national cancer research spending is allocated to it.
She believes in the need for a ‘more co-ordinated’ approach to brain tumour research, with more communication between scientists and charities, and also stressed the importance of rehabilitation for children who survive the disease.
“A brain tumour in itself can do damage, so it is vital to have rehabilitation available afterwards,” she said.
Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “We need a clear plan from the Government to give patients the confidence that more effective treatments are being identified and ultimately cures will be found.”