A TRUST set up by Droitwich-based former Warwickshire and England cricketer Ashley Giles and his wife Stine is funding a key research nurse post at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB).

The Giles’ Trust was established by the couple in 2015 to raise money for vital research into brain tumours at the QEHB following the successful brain tumour treatment Stine received at the hospital.

Stine was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2006, when Ashley was touring Australia with the England Cricket Team.

After successful removal of the tumour and further treatment they were devastated in 2012 to learn that two more tumours had been discovered which required immediate attention.

The treatment Stine received was so new that she was one of the first people in the UK to go through it. She was treated on the new TomoTherapy machine bought by QEHB Charity just weeks before. Without it there were few options of treatment left.

Experiencing first-hand how important research and new treatments were, Stine promised herself that, if everything went well and her prognosis was good, she would endeavour to raise funds to help fund brain tumour research in the future.

Stine’s pioneering treatment worked well and, although she continues to have regular checks and scans, she is back enjoying life with her family and now fulfilling the promise she made to support research into brain tumours.

Stine said: “After I had brain tumours successfully treated for the second time I decided that I wanted to give something back. I set up The Giles’ Trust and I’m delighted that we’re now in the position to be able to fund a research nurse to work here at QEHB.”

Stine recently went along to the hospital to meet research nurse Donna Gillen, who now works alongside Professor Garth Cruikshank at the hospital.

Donna has a background in treating patients with cancer and spent five years working at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, which offers specialist cancer treatment.

She said: “I am quickly settling into the role, there is a lot to learn and I am excited about the two trials that are being set up. These trials will help to increase our understanding of brain tumours and could change the way that we treat people with tumours.”

Donna will play a key role in the drugs trial as a link between the patients and the hospital, informing and educating patients about the trial.

She said: “I am there to provide advice for patients who come onto the drug trial. It is important that they are able to ask all of the questions that they want to when they’re in hospital but also when they’re at home and have a question to ask.”

Stine said this is an immensely important aspect of the research work. “When I was in that position I had so many questions to ask. You’ve got a lot of decisions to make in a short amount of time and a whole new language to learn. Donna will be able to take time to talk with the patients about their options. Providing this care is so important.”

The trials at the hospital will help to benefit patients with brain tumours, those such as Natasha Dean, from Shropshire - a trainee paediatric doctor who woke up one morning to discover she had lost all movement on one side of her face. Initially diagnosed as Bell’s palsy, it was later discovered that she had a tumour on a nerve coming out of her brain behind her left ear.

The operation to remove the tumour was a success and less than a year on Natasha completed the 10km endurance obstacle challenge ‘Tough Mudder’ with 10 friends, raising £3,500 for QEHB Charity.

Natasha said: “It was a tricky time for me but the care I received at QEHB was fantastic. I was so glad to be able to give something back by raising some funds for the hospital.”

Natasha isn’t the only one taking part in a challenge to raise money as Ashley Giles will be joining the 1,500 riders cycling the 100 mile Vélo Birmingham route around the West Midlands on Sunday September 24 for the QEHB Charity.

Ashley said: “It’s a daunting challenge but one which I’m also looking forward to. It’s a great opportunity to raise money and awareness for The Giles’ Trust and the amazing research into brain tumours that is happening at QEHB.”

Stine added: “I wish Donna well and would like to extend my thanks to all the incredible people like Natasha who have overcome adversity and helped to raise money for the charity. We could not accomplish the things that we have without the support of people like you.”

For more information about how QEHB Charity supports patients visit www.qehb.org or call 0121 371 4852.

According to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity:

• Brain tumour research remains underfunded in comparison to other diseases and illnesses funded by the NHS even though brain tumours are now the most common malignancy and cause of death in children. Survival rates across all ages are only marginally better now than they were 40 years ago.

• The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is one of the largest referral centres in the UK for patients with brain tumours. Investment and research programmes have meant that there has been a variety of research undertaken in the laboratories that look at creating new drugs and treatments for brain tumour patients and, in the hospital, the NHS funds medical staff to care for patients.

• The appointment of a clinical research nurse will enable around 65 patients a year to be accepted onto a clinical trial. These trials potentially have the ability to offer patients new drugs and treatments with fewer side effects, longer life expectancy and an ultimate goal of being able to beat brain tumours.