Legacy: the family of Sue Blasotta (left to right) mother Kathleen Taylor, children Sasha and Daniel with Sasha's daughter Aleeya Sue, sister Nichola Rydqvist and father David Taylor Nigel Howard
The family of a mother of two who died six weeks after being diagnosed with the deadliest type of brain tumor will today launch a £1 million campaign to help save others.
Sue Blasotta’s death six years ago at the age of 42 — leaving children Sasha, now 19, and Daniel, 17 — inspired her father David Taylor to set up the charity In Sue’s Name to continue her legacy of raising money for cancer research.
Sue, who was married and worked for Reed recruitment consultancy and latterly as a school administrator, had done five sponsored runs for Cancer Research UK and a charity skydive after several family members were diagnosed with cancer. She had gone to see her GP after being unable to hold a cup of tea passed to her in the school canteen. An MRI scan found “lesions in the brain”, later diagnosed as a stage four brain tumour. She died on January 8, 2011.
Mr Taylor and Sasha, who gave birth to a daughter recently, decided to partner the charity Brain Tumour Research with a pledge to raise £1 million to fund studies at Queen Mary University of London into glioblastoma multiforme, the tumour that killed Sue.
Mr Taylor, of Winchmore Hill, said she had faced death with amazing courage, adding: “Her most worrying thought was how her family would cope when she had gone. She said, ‘I have got the easy job as I am going to die and you have got the hard job, carrying on without me’.”
He set up In Sue’s Name in 2014 to counter the lack of awareness of brain tumours and shortage of research cash. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer but the disease receives one per cent of the national spend on cancer research. Mr Taylor hopes the work of In Sue’s Name will help Sasha and Daniel to understand how much their mother was loved. “Galvanized by the fact that treatments for brain tumour patients remain so limited, we are pledging to raise £1 million over the next 10 years to fund vital research... We hope that this will lead to more effective treatments for brain tumour patients and ultimately a cure.”
It costs £1 million a year to fund research at the university’s centre of excellence, one of four supported by Brain Tumour Research. In the UK 16,000 people a year are diagnosed with brain tumours. One in five survives beyond five years.
BTR’s chief executive Sue Farrington Smith said the partnership with In Sue’s Name “will lead to better outcomes for patients — from improved awareness for earlier diagnosis to the development of more effective, personalised treatments and targeted drugs...Through the funds generated, we will be able to significantly fast-track progress towards finding a cure for brain tumours.”
Sue Blasotta with her two children Daniel and Sasha Blasotta (Nigel Howard)