Beloved mum and dad die of brain tumours just weeks apart

Steve Morrissey was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour
Steve Morrissey was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour -Credit:Submitted

A family have been left heartbroken following the deaths of a loving mum and a dad who both died of brain tumours within just seven weeks of each other. It has tragically left their 13-year-old daughter without either of her parents and having to start a new life for herself in Devon.

Following the death of Ali Slaymaker, 49, on August 24, 2023, her partner Steve Morrissey and their daughter moved from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, to Cullompton to be near his family. The 50-year-old passed away at Exeter hospice Searle House on October 12.

Steve, a sales manager for Treatt - suppliers of flavour and fragrance ingredients - was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the fastest growing type of brain tumour, in 2022, after suddenly suffering a seizure out of the blue. Scans confirmed he had a growth on the right-hand side of his brain.

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Glioblastoma is the most common type of malignant brain tumour in adults, with a devastatingly short average survival time of six months if untreated and only 12 to 18 months with an intensive and invasive treatment plan.

By the time Steve passed away, it had spread and increased to three brain tumours. He had stopped working before his death which enabled him to move to Devon in the autumn of 2023.

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It is only since his death that Steve's nephew, Ben Brown, of Tiverton, discovered how underfunded brain tumour research is. It has inspired him and a group of nine other family members, friends and work colleagues of Steve's to organise an epic fundraising 280-mile bike ride from Bury St Edmunds to Cullompton - which was Steve's final journey - in aid of Brain Tumour Research.

The 31-year-old construction worker recalled: "Before my uncle collapsed there had been nothing prior to then. He was fit and healthy.

"We lost both him and Ali in such a short space of time. It really is heartbreaking the whole situation.

"Thankfully their daughter is doing amazing considering what she has been through. She is astonishing."

Ali Slaymaker passed away on August 24, 2023
Ali Slaymaker passed away on August 24, 2023 -Credit:Submitted

Paying tribute to Steve, Ben said: "He was a very stubborn man but was just a lovely, nice, generous man who would do anything for anyone."

The fundraising challenge will begin on June 6 and will take four days with the group having to complete 70-miles of cycling each day. Ben, who only bought a bike last December, has been training since the beginning of the year.

He admitted: "I've never, ever done a long bike ride before. It's going to be really tough physically and mentally but everyone has been training hard for it so we should be okay.

"I wanted to do something for my uncle in his memory and, even more importantly, raise money for Brain Tumour Research because it is so underfunded. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

"I lost two members of my family to it last year and in 2014 one of my childhood best friends died of a brain tumour. So that's three people I know who have had it and it's hard to get my head around it. They and other people are worth more than the one per cent of funding.

"Watching how brain tumours rip families into pieces has made me realise we need to help make a change and I am attempting to do that by doing something positive."

To donate to the fundraiser, please click here. The target is to raise £5,000.