05 Sep 2008 00:00:00.000
A remarkably determined 16 year-old will take the plunge at this year’s Big Swim. The event is held annually at The University of Nottingham to raise vital funds for children’s brain tumour research.
Kirsty Davis, from South Normanton in Derbyshire, was just three years old when she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour. She underwent major surgery but the pressure of the tumour on her optic nerve reduced her vision to two small tunnels of light. However, her limited vision has not stopped Kirsty achieving her greatest ambition. This summer she got the GCSE’s she needed to do photography at A Level.
Kirsty Davis and her dad Keith will both be taking part in the 2008 Big Swim — formally known as the Million Metre Swim — to raise funds for The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC) where Kirsty was treated. The centre was set up over ten years ago by The University of Nottingham and so far swimmers have raised well over £35,000 to help fund research carried out by CBTRC.
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Kirsty, who is still a patient at the centre which is based at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, said: “I’ve never let my problems get in the way of doing something I wanted to do. This event will be my opportunity to do something for young people like me and to raise money for all important research to improve their chances of survival and the treatments available to them.”
Her dad, Keith, said: “Kirsty lost a lot of her childhood as a result of this disease. The feelings we have for the parents of children going through what we did are heartfelt — it changes your entire life. Without research perhaps we wouldn’t have Kirsty. Now she lives life at full throttle and taking part in this year’s Big Swim is our way of saying thank you.”
Brain tumours account for 2 per cent of all childhood cancers. Around 400 children under the age of 16 are diagnosed with brain or spine tumours every year. Many of the children who survive will live the rest of their lives with significant disability related to brain damage caused by the tumour or its treatment.
David Walker, Professor of Paediatric Oncology at CBTRC said: “Kirsty and her father taught us a great deal about how best to select treatment in their situation which has influenced research at the centre.”
The CBTRC has brought together experts with range of experience in paediatrics, neurosciences, oncology, imaging, pharmaceutical sciences and cellular genetics. Their findings guide national and international developments in brain tumour research and clinical practice, leading to new methods of research to help find a cure, whilst minimising the risk of disability.
Recently the centre completed a two and half year research project funded by the Samantha Dixon Trust through the National Lottery to speed up the diagnosis of childhood brain tumours.
Cancer Research UK has also funded two major studies to test new treatments for children’s cancer and leukemia and to collect samples to assess family history for the disease.
Richard Grundy Professor of Paediatric Neurooncology at CBTRC said: "If we are to make progress in improving the outcomes for children with brain tumours we need to better understand the underlying biology. The funds raised for CBTRC allow us to follow new ideas quickly and to pump-prime research leading to major grant submissions. Each £1 raised through CBTRC has been tripled by grant funding. A swimathon is a great way to support this cause!"
This year’s swim takes place between 10am and 4pm on 20 September and will run alongside the CBTRC’s annual open day which highlights the work carried out by the centre. Among the displays and children’s activities there will be a specially created performance by Nottingham Youth Dance in association with the New English Contemporary Ballet which is based in Nottingham.
Swimmers of all abilities can help raise money for research and treatment into childhood brain tumours. The organisers have allocated 200 places and swimmers can choose from a one hour swim, a thirty minute swim or a swim for beginners — or you can swim as long as you like.
Speedo are also supporting the event by offering everyone taking part with the chance to win prizes as well as giving away souvenirs to all Big Swim participants.
If you want to register to take part in the 2008 Big Swim go to http://www.bigswim.org.uk
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Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation - School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
Additional information: To find out more about the CBTRC go to http://www.cbtrc.org/