A MUM is putting all her weight behind a petition to get more awareness of child brain cancer - after her teenage daughter died of the disease.

Tracey Bryant Withers from Risca lost 17-year-old daughter Izzy on August 27 2019 to a brain tumour called a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) which affects the brain stem.

Ms Bryant Withers has been supporting other families across the UK who are going through the same situation as she did - joining a campaign to get better research and awareness into DIPG, which has been tabled at Westminster by a number of MPs across the UK, including Islwyn’s Chris Evans.

“I need to feel like her life matters,” said Ms Bryant Withers, speaking to the South Wales Argus just over a year after Izzy’s death.

“I want people to think about the fact that childhood cancer awareness month is September, and want people to take notice.”

South Wales Argus:

Izzy all glamorous

There is currently no cure for DIPG and only one per cent of funding goes into brain tumours, with just two per cent of Cancer Research UK’s funding used for childhood cancer research.

South Wales Argus:

Izzy as a child

Izzy was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 16.

Ms Bryant Withers said: “The average survival rate is 12 months. There is little support for children aged 16 or 17, they aren’t classed as children but also not as adults either.

"When Izzy was diagnosed, we didn’t get help from anybody. We just got told to get on with it.

“We want the government to take notice.

“The cancer Izzy had was a death sentence. It robs you of balance, then the eyes go, can’t swallow and can’t eat.”


South Wales Argus:

Izzy Withers

But when the family found out about Ty Hafan and the Teenage Cancer Trust, things got a bit easier, as they had help and support.

“Ty Hafan were amazing,” said Ms Bryant Withers.

"I wish we were pointed in their direction at the start, but we weren’t given much information and were expected to find out on our own.

"It took us five months to get a counsellor to help her process what was happening.”

South Wales Argus:

Izzy was an active child

Ms Bryant-Withers has been working closely with Abbie’s Army, who are campaigning to raise money and awareness for children’s cancer and the DIPG tumour.

Visit https://www.abbiesarmy.co.uk/DIPG-Stories/DIPGStories/abbies-story/ for more information.

It is their petition that has been tabled at Westminster, after a number of parents who have lost or have children suffering with a DIPG tumour reached out to their local MPs.

Abbie’s Army was set up in November 2012 by Ray and Amanda Mifsud, who lost their daughter Abbie at the age of six to DIPG.

They felt completely helpless and hopeless over the lack of treatment available, and wanted to try to prevent it happening to other families in the future.