TEN years on from the death of renowned florist Jane Packer, Milton Keynes-based charity Brain Tumour Research is launching its second Wear A Hat Day with Flowers campaign to raise funds to help find a cure for the disease.
Jane was busy revolutionising the world of floristry and raising a family when she was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Following gruelling treatment, she returned to work and lived a normal life until a stroke six years later heralded the return of the tumour. After she passed away in 2011, her husband, Gary Wallis, set up the Jane Packer Foundation, a Member Charity of Brain Tumour Research, in her memory.
“Jane truly changed the way people think about flowers and helped to revolutionise floristry, writing many books and setting up Flower Schools around the world. Jane had a vision of what flowers could be and their effect and always wanted to share that vision.
“During the years of her illness, we busily researched the treatment options available and were shocked to find out that brain tumour research was so seriously underfunded in the UK.
“Since I set up the Jane Packer Foundation to raise awareness and funds, we have seen our partnership with Brain Tumour Research grow and flourish. There’s now a dedicated Research Centre of Excellence at the Queen Mary University of London, studying GBM. This, alongside our children, and of course the Flower Schools and shops, is part of Jane’s legacy.”
Brain Tumour Research is delighted that BBC TV’s Instant Gardener Danny Clarke is also supporting the campaign, which takes place on Friday 18 June.
Danny’s support is in memory of his beloved sister Margot McLellan who died from a brain tumour at the age of 52, leaving a husband and young daughter.
“I had already lost two siblings and a parent in quick succession when Margot became ill. It was heartbreaking to witness her decline over two years following her diagnosis with a GBM.
“Every now and then, we might get a glimpse of the old Margot, but, mostly, it was like talking to a child. It struck me that seeing my dad and other siblings die had been very different. Brain tumours steal the person long before their body finally gives up.
“I want to do what I can to help the charity Brain Tumour Research, so patients like Margot aren’t left with zero treatment options, and their families aren’t forced to watch them suffer as she did.”
Wear A Hat Day with Flowers takes place during British Flowers Week, and the charity is encouraging people to don their best floral hat creations, from petalled Panamas to blooming berets, flowery fedoras to botanical beanies, and get together – virtually or in-person – to raise funds to help find a cure.
Brain Tumour Research spokesman Hugh Adams said:
“Last year, we were thrilled at the enthusiastic support for our first ever Wear A Hat Day with Flowers, and more than £40,000 was raised by those who took part.
“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Yet historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. Increased investment in research is vital if we are to improve outcomes for patients and, ultimately, find a cure.
“Please join the Wear A Hat Day with Flowers fun and help us get closer to a cure.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, find a cure. The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
Whilst COVID-19 restrictions still apply, the charity is reminding supporters to observe safety measures when planning their events. Families, friends, workplaces and schools can still come together safely, virtually or in person where restrictions allow to raise money for this vital cause.
You can register to take part at: www.wearahatdaywithflowers.org.