THE grieving mum of a toddler who died from a brain tumour is urging people to take part in a national fundraising campaign to find a cure for the disease.

Rowena Robbins was just four years old when she died, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem glioma. Two decades after her death, her mum Elaine is working with the national charity Brain Tumour Research to tell her daughter’s story.

Elaine and her husband Robert Rust, from Winchester, are supporting this year’s Wear A Hat Day which takes place on Thursday, 29th March.

Wear A Hat Day has raised more than a million pounds since it was launched by Brain Tumour Research nine years ago and is the culmination of Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March.

The big day will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in fun events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life-saving research.

Elaine and Robert were among those thanked by businesswoman, model and brain tumour survivor Caprice Bourret at the official launch of the campaign on March 3 – the day before what would have been Rowena’s 24th birthday.

Caprice underwent surgery to remove a low-grade brain tumour which was diagnosed a year ago and continues to be monitored by her medical team.

Launching Wear A Hat Day 2018, she said: “I have been so touched by Rowena’s story. It is a sad fact that brain tumours affect so many people and that this devastating disease is indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age – I never even used to get headaches before I was diagnosed.

“I’m proud to be working with Elaine and so many others to support Wear A Hat Day. I want everyone to get involved! It’s such a fun event and anyone can take part. Let’s all put our hats on and do something positive to remember Rowena and support the fantastic research going on right now. I’m determined to try to make a difference for the 16,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour each year.”

Elaine said: “It is only now, 20 years later, that I am able to talk about what happened to Rowena. It is shocking to learn that there is still no cure and that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just one percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

“I have finally found the words to tell Rowena’s story in the hope it will help others. We must find a cure for this disease which has torn my family apart, leaving a crevice which cannot be filled and those of us who remain with a legacy of despair. It is so desperately sad that Rowena didn’t get the chance to grow up.”

Other high-profile names supporting Wear A Hat Day 2018 alongside Caprice are television, radio and stage performer, Debbie McGee, who lost husband Paul Daniels to a brain tumour in 2016 and actor and author Sheila Hancock CBE, whose grandson survived a childhood brain tumour. Specsavers will be supporting Wear A Hat Day 2018 as an official sponsor for the first time.

Funds raised through Wear A Hat Day 2018 will develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK.

To get involved, or donate, visit: or text HAT to 70660 to donate £5