Family of Stephen Realf fight on after funding fall revealed

Peter Realf in parliament.
Peter Realf in parliament.
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There was another day at Westminster last week for the father of Stephen Realf, 26, from Boughton Vale, who died of a brain tumour in 2014.

Peter Realf’s visit, the latest step in the family’s campaign for better funding for brain tumour research, came the day after new figures showed spending had fallen in 2015.

On the first anniversary of his death last August, one of Stephen’s sisters, Maria Lester, launched a petition calling for more funding – unaware that what they saw as an inadequate level was falling in comparison with the year before.

The petition attracted massive support and led to the first ever Petitions Select Committee inquiry, whose report said, ‘Successive Governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades’.

That was followed by a parliamentary debate with Maria, and mum and dad Peter and Liz Realf in attendance.

And then last Wednesday, Peter joined others attending the All Party Parliamentary Group on brain tumours.

He told the committee: “We are here today, in the Palace of Westminster at an historic time, and perhaps it is appropriate that we are gathered here at this very moment on a day when a new Prime Minister takes up residence at 10 Downing Street.

“For let us be clear, if swift and measurable progress is not made in rectifying the decades of neglect and research underfunding, the brain tumour community will soon be knocking loudly on that famous door.

After the meeting, he added: “As we approach the second anniversary of Stephen’s death we are more determined than ever to continue to do all that we can to help other families who are touched by this dreadful disease.

“The pain of losing our son will never go away but we will continue to campaign in order to prevent others from experiencing the devastation and despair which a brain tumour diagnosis brings.”

* The charity Brain Tumour Research says the new figures from the National Cancer Research Institute show the national spend on cancer research allocated to brain tumour research, fell to 1.37 per cent in 2015, from 1.54 per cent in 2014.