For those of you who follow our Facebook page, you may be familiar with one of our star clients, children’s author and charity fundraiser Katie Smith.
After being diagnosed with an Oligoastrocytoma brain tumour at just 31 years old, Katie showed extraordinary strength in raising awareness for brain tumours and continuing to be a loving mother to her baby boy Eli, and wife to her incredibly supportive husband Luke.
3 years ago Katie’s life changed
Her journey began shortly after her honeymoon with constant headaches that wouldn’t disappear, and uknown to her, the tumour growing inside her brain was the culprit. After several trips to doctors, a scan finally revealed the 6cm tumour and she was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham for emergency surgery. Although the surgery removed the most of the tumour, some still remained, and Katie and her family were given the devastating news that she may not live to see her 40th birthday.
The Pumpkin Project
During her recovery from surgery Katie and her husband spent a lot of time watching daytime TV, and saw Lorraine Kelly announcing a competition to find a new children’s author. Katie applied with her book The Pumpkin Project; a tale about a girl who grows a huge pumpkin for her school project with the help of her grandparents, and won. Winning the prize enabled Katie to spread awareness of brain tumours and how devastating they can be to so many people. She also explained how little funding is available to assist in finding a cure for this terrible disease.
Treatment at Optima
As time progressed, her doctors told her the chances of making it to her 40th birthday were 50/50, and they revealed that the bald patch on her scalp that had appeared due to the Radiotherapy would never regrow. Not wanting to live the rest of her life not feeling like herself, Katie reached out to us at Optima to see how our treatments could help.
Feeling like herself again
When Katie met with Pete she told her story, warts and all. Optima has seen hundreds of clients over the years with cancer, from children to adults, but rarely have we seen someone with such determination to live the remainder of their time fighting for funding and recognition to battle the shocking cancer that was to eventually take her life.
On the day Katie got her new hair she was so pleased with it she shared pictures on social media and wrote about us on her blog, and continues to mention us wherever she goes – including her return to ITV’s Lorraine show. This morning (2nd October 2019) Katie appeared as a guest once more to update viewers on her progress and to raise further awareness of her charity, Brainstorm, which aims to raise £90,000 for Brain Tumour Research UK. At the moment she is gathering signed celebrity hats to auction off and raise funds, and was presented with a fabulous hot pink cowboy hat signed by Lorraine herself and mentioned that she had already received a genuine signed Peaky Blinders hat courtesy of the main star of the show, Cillian Murphy.
In the episode Katie talks about the shocking figures associated with funding for this disease: only 20% of people diagnosed with a brain tumour live for more than 5 years, and brain tumours kill more people under 40 than any other form of cancer, however only a tiny percentage of the national spend on cancer research is dedicated to fighting them.
Please help Katie by donating to Brainstorm here
You can watch Katie talk about her experience on the ITV hub player here (Katie is on at 12 minutes 50 seconds)
Check out Brainstorm UK’s Facebook page here
Finally, keep up to date with Katie’s experiences by subscribing to her blog babiesbooksandbraintumours.wordpress.com
For more information and resources on brain tumours, please visit www.braintumourresearch.org