Well done Fern, we're all behind you

An oncology nurse from Angus is taking on a marathon challenge for research into brain tumours after surviving the disease.

John MacInnes
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 10:33am
Well done Fern, we're all behind you

Fern Cameron, 24, is taking on the Jog 26.2 Miles in May challenge to raise money for the Brain Tumour Research charity. It comes after she was diagnosed with an astrocytoma brain tumour in January 2021.

Fern, from Kirriemuir, first realised something was wrong in December 2020 while on a night shift at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

She said: “My balance was awful and I was really clumsy, but I ignored it.

“Then I noticed that my eyes were getting increasingly worse and I had double vision. I went to the opticians and they said I had nystagmus, where my eyes were moving involuntarily.”

Fern’s mum, Karen Duncan, also noticed a change in her mood, that she was more short-tempered and got wound-up easily. Fern’s GP referred her to the neurology department at Ninewells Hospital, for an appointment on January 5, 2021.

Fern, who has four siblings – Ross, 28, Kieran, 26, Niamh, 22, and Mya Duncan-Walker, 14, said: “The neurologist said that something was wrong and he booked me in for an MRI scan the next day which revealed a mass on my brain.”

Surgeons operated the following day, January 7, because the tumour was putting pressure on Fern’s brainstem. The operation went well, although surgeons were unable to say with certainty if everything had been removed. An MRI scan in October 2021 gave Fern the ‘all- clear’, which meant she didn’t need to have radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

After five months off work, Fern returned to her oncology nursing role at Ninewells Hospital on 24 April 2021. Now, she is taking on the Jog 26.2 Miles in May challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.

She said: “I just wanted to do something positive. I’m not a runner at all, but my sister Niamh runs a lot so she’s doing the challenge with me.

“There is such a lack of awareness about brain tumours and people don’t recognise the symptoms.

“I’m doing this not just for myself, but also for all people who are battling against this devastating disease.”

Brain tumours 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. Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK singularly focused on finding a cure for brain tumours through campaigning for an increase in the national investment into research to £35 million per year. It is also fundraising to create a sustainable network of brain tumour research centres in the UK.

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We’re really grateful to Fern as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients who are forced to fight this awful disease.

“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any time. Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”

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 in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

To donate to Fern’s fundraising page, visit:


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