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The team

Katie Sheen - Founder

katie sheenSince Astro Brain Tumour Fund was founded in April 2001, I have worked on behalf of those affected by low-grade brain tumours. Initially this was as a volunteer, but from July 2005 to April 2009 I also worked as a salaried Patient Support worker for Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust (SDBTT).

In 2012 I launched the Soul Nutrition website at www.soulnutrition.org, inspired by my experiences in cancer support. This is a free interactive resource designed to support mindfulness and happiness. I now lead Astro Brain Tumour Fund as a volunteer again, whilst teaching nutrition and mindfulness full time.

Hear the personal story of what inspired me to found Astro Brain Tumour Fund and later Soul Nutrition on this podcast for Croydon Radio, recorded in 2014.

You can find out more about me and my nutrition work at www.soulnutrition.org 

Mary BurtonMary Burton - Treasurer

I am married to Robbie and live in in Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.  I have three stepdaughters who have 11 children between them, their ages ranging from 23 years to 3 years.

I am Norfolk born and bred although I have ventured out of the county to live and work over the years in a variety of office/accounts based posts.  I first moved to Holme in 1987 to take over the running of the village shop/post office.  After 5 years’ enjoyable but hard work, this was sold and I worked at Hunstanton Post Office for the next 10 years.  After running a bed and breakfast business for 12 years, I am now retired but keeping busier than ever!

I have been a listening volunteer with King’s Lynn Samaritans for around 15 years.

I first became involved with Astro Brain Tumour Fund in 2007, when I saw an article in the local paper about a sponsored walk being organised at Holkham Hall.  Previous to this in January 2007, my sister’s younger daughter, Gemma Barrett, was diagnosed with a low grade brain tumour.  This spurred us on to help raising as much cash as we could to help fund research.  Sadly, Gemma passed away in November 2010 after enduring her illness with great spirit, aged just 29.  In addition to this Robbie’s nephew, Ross Dagg, also passed away in 2014, from a brain tumour.

I am still highly motivated today in doing all I can to help raise money to fund more research into low grade brain tumours in order to find more effective treatments and, ultimately a cure, for this devastating disease.

Christine Forecast - Secretary

Christine ForecastI have been married to Trevor for 46 years and we have two daughters, Katie and Emma. When Emma's husband Paul was diagnosed with a LGG in 2000 we, as a family, became involved with raising money for research into LGGs and providing support and hope for patients, carers and their families through Astro Brain Tumour Fund.

I trained as an occupational therapist and worked in psychiatric hospitals until Katie was born. We then went into the hotel business and had two hotels over the years, retiring in 1999. I was a magistrate from 1988 until 2001 until Emma and Paul needed help as his tumour progressed, because their children were so young. We spent 5 years supporting their family until Pauls' death in March 2006, and since then have continued to support Emma but also have fun rallying an old car, gardening, walking, socialising and keeping up with the grandchildren. I also help Trevor with his work as Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in West Norfolk.

Fund raising for Astro Brain Tumour Fund has taken up time too and we look forward to continuing our support, in the hope that other families will find their brain tumour journeys easier than we did over 8 years ago.

Linda Rickford

Linda RickfordI am married to Barry and we live in Cousldon in Surrey. I worked for many years at BBC Television in London and then for 25 years for Croydon Council, running a special needs playgroup for 8 years and then helping families in the community cope with the challenging behaviour of their young children – like ‘Supernanny’ on the TV (only not so well paid!).

Barry and I are now both retired.  This is just as well, as almost at the moment of Barry’s retirement our son David, aged 28, having already recovered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and our world fell apart - again.  After David’s emergency surgery he needed full time, hands on care for several months. It was a most difficult time, and when David was discharged from the hospital we felt quite alone and abandoned. Barry and I were fortunate that we were both able to be at home to support him, and each other.   I looked for help, information and support online and I stumbled across the Astro Brain Tumour Fund website and joined the support group – one of the best things I could have done. 

I feel passionate about the need to raise funds for vital research projects into low grade gliomas.  Also, David was misdiagnosed by our GP and by no less than 9 hospital doctors, and this only served to reinforce my passion about raising awareness and improving training programmes for the medical profession.  I think it is so important that those affected by brain tumours, be they patient, carer, parent, or spouse, should have a forum where they can seek support and information – and Astro Brain Tumour Fund supplies that forum.

Martin Segal

Martin SegalI am a security professional who has worked in the security industry for the last fifteen years, and currently have the role of a senior manager in a large American owned Facilities Management company.

In 2001 my wife Stacey was diagnosed with a low-grade astrocytoma. She was very brave and an inspiration to many people, including me. Tragically she died in 2006 and is survived by her beautiful son, who is now 8 years old, and me. Stacey and I were committed to living full and exciting lives together and with our son, which we achieved if only for a very short time.

During the first year of her diagnosis we were put in touch with Katie by Dr Jeremy Rees of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and we both offered to help her raise funds for Astro Brain Tumour Fund. This is something that I have been doing ever since. I do not know of a worthier cause.

Ironically, sadly, and statistically highly improbably, my brother Raymond died of the very same type of tumor in 2002. He is survived by his wife and two young sons. You always hear these sorts of stories and never believe they will happen to you, well they did happen to me. I am therefore totally committed to raising funds for the excellent support work that Astro Brain Tumour Fund provides to families going through these challenging experiences, and to assist in the ongoing research to find a cure for these types of tumours.