Fife families fundraiser after brain tumour heartbreak

Anne Marie Caira (left) and Margaret Vass (right) with Lesley Laird MP.
Anne Marie Caira (left) and Margaret Vass (right) with Lesley Laird MP.

Two Kirkcaldy friends, whose family members were recently diagnosed with brain tumours, joined forces at the weekend to raise over a thousand pounds for brain cancer research.

Margaret Vass and Anne Marie Caira have been friends for years but were stunned when their daughters-in-law were both diagnosed with brain tumours within months of each other.

However, rather than give in to the shock and helplessness they both felt, the two women joined forces to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research by organising a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Abbotshall Church on Saturday.

Lesley Laird MP for Kirkcaldy joined a throng of over 100 attendees at the event – all wearing their best hats – and the ladies were delighted with the response.

“When an illness like this hits the family, you can be left feeling angry, frustrated and often helpless, unable to make a difference,” said Anne Marie.

“We just wanted to do something positive – after all, the more money that is spent on research, the sooner treatments can be found.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for coming along despite the horrible weather and giving so generously. It was a fantastic event and the amount raised far surpassed what we both expected.”

Wear a Hat Day is sponsored by Brain Tumour Research, and encourages supporters to host tea parties, with guests invited to enter the spirit by wearing their favourite hats, to raise not just funds, but also awareness about brain cancer.

Every year in the UK around 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour, yet only 1 per cent of cancer research funding is allocated to this particular type. It’s a little-known fact that brain tumours kill more under-40s than any other cancers.

Margaret works in the NHS and is aware of the impact that cuts can have on services offered to patients.

“Hospitals are stretched to the limit at the moment, but we’ve been so impressed by the way our cases have been dealt with. We just wanted to do something to help.”

Lesley Laird added: “Hearing the personal stories of those affected by brain tumours just brings it home how important research is.

“I worry that this kind of work may be affected by Brexit, which is why any kind of fundraising is important. I’ve been so impressed by what I saw at the tea party.”

Margaret and Anne Marie managed to raise a grand total of £1024 at their tea party, and have future events planned.

Anyone who could not make it on the day, but who would still like to give a donation to the charity should visit https://www.braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/wear-a-hat-day.