Viv Raises Money for Brain Tumor Charity with a Cookbook

Brave mum Viv copes with battling a brain tumour by signing up celebrities and their recipes for her fundraising cook book

VIV MCBETH, of Prestwick was 32 when doctor’s discovered she had a brain tumour after she suffered blinding headaches which would wake her up during the night.

Viv McBeth is has raised £8000 for Brain Tumour UK from her cookbook, Viv's Kitchen.
Viv McBeth is has raised £8000 for Brain Tumour UK from her cookbook, Viv’s Kitchen.
WHEN Viv McBeth beat a deadly brain tumour, she wanted to help the doctors who saved her life.

So she signed up celebrities for a cookbook to raise cash for research into the condition through the charity Brain Tumour UK.

Lorraine Kelly, Miranda Hart and Matthew Wright are among those who supplied favourite dishes for the book, called Viv’s Kitchen, which so far has raised £8000.

Viv, now 40, found her world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, aged 32.

Scared she wouldn’t live to see her son Euan, then three, start school, she found comfort in her love of cooking.

Viv, a former financial adviser, now works full time for the Brain Tumour UK Charity.

She compiled the cookbook after meeting telly queen Lorraine at a charity awards ceremony and then wrote to a host of other household names asking for their help.

The mum-of-one, from ­Prestwick, Ayrshire, was delighted when Lorraine replied with a recipe for her mum Anne’s signature homemade chicken soup.

Contributions from comedian Miranda, TV presenter Matthew, former Scotland goalie Alan Rough and Rab C Nesbitt star Barbara Rafferty followed.

Viv is now hoping to attract more famous names for a second edition.

She said: “Home cooking was one of the things that kept me going when I was down. Making healthy meals made me feel good and I wanted to share my love of food with others.

“I couldn’t believe it when Lorraine Kelly sent me a recipe for her mum’s homemade chicken soup, so I decided to email more celebrities. Soon, Miranda Hart had sent me a recipe for a trifle and Matthew Wright another for a lovely chicken dish cooked with spinach.

“The teachers at my son’s school tell me how much they’ve enjoyed making the recipes.”

Viv first felt ill while making a banoffee pie in April 2005.

Days of blinding headaches followed and she and husband Paul, 44, began to worry when the pain became so bad she couldn’t sleep.

But they could never have prepared themselves for the devastating news that followed.

Viv said: “I thought I had a bug but I was waking Paul up at 3am asking him to massage my temples because the pain was so bad.

“Luckily, my GP took me ­seriously and they gave me a CT scan. Ten days later, I was told it was a cancerous brain tumour and I’d need ­radiotherapy.

“I was devastated – it was like being punched in the stomach. I was a young mum and I never thought anything like it would happen to me.

“I just felt so alone. I’d never heard of anyone who had brain cancer at 32 and I was terrified I would never see my son grow up.”

Viv had 33 sessions of ­radiotherapy and was given a life expectancy of five years.

But she has enjoyed good health since her treatment and has founded a support group for brain tumour sufferers in her area.

She added: “I wouldn’t say I’d had the all-clear but I’ve had good health for the last few years and feel blessed to have reached my 40th birthday.

“My tumour was only detected as it had a pocket of fluid around it that was causing the headaches.

“It could have been a different story and it’s because I’m one of the lucky ones I’ve done this.

“I had a good job but my illness made me rethink things and I realised spending time with my family was more important than going on two holidays a year.

“I had to stay positive for Euan but I was determined that cancer wouldn’t ruin my life.

“The cookbook was a lot of work but handing over a big cheque to Brain Tumour UK made it ­worthwhile.

“Research into brain tumours is underfunded, so it’s important to raise awareness of the ­condition. I hope people remember that every time they open the book.”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/brave-mum-viv-copes-battling-2155728

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37 Cancer Fighting Foods & Drinks

37 Cancer Fighting Foods & Drinks

Cancer is one of the most feared diseases, and there are so many different forms that it can feel overwhelming to try to prevent them all. If you’ve already been diagnosed as having cancer, it becomes crucial to make sure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to help battle it back and support the body during treatment. Here are dozens of foods that have each shown to be beneficial in the fight against cancer, and preventing it from happening in the first place.

red wine fights cancer

Red Wine

There is a chemical specifically in red wine that shows promise for being a cancer fighter. It’s called resveratrol and you may have heard of it, as it has been popping up not just in red wine, but on supplement claiming to contain it. For years doctors have been recommending a glass of red wine per day for heart health. Only recently has it been discovered that there may be anti-cancer benefits. Many pills out there claim to have far more resveratrol in them than red wine has, but be sure to check the facts first.

green tea

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, more so than other teas because it doesn’t undergo as much processing, leaving all of these important cancer fighting minerals intact. It’s worth the time and effort to incorporate this into your diet because it doesn’t just help prevent certain cancers from forming, it can help battle them back if you’ve already got them. The good news is that it’s not just one or two studies that have confirmed this, and it has also withstood the test of time and been verified on repeated tests. It’s a bonafide ally against cancer and also provides plenty of additional benefits.

ginger

Ginger

You’ll never look at this simple root the same way again once you hear how it’s able to help you on your quest to stay battle back cancer. It actually gets cancer cells to kill themselves. Pretty powerful, huh? It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s working to help with cancer in two distinct ways. Scientists are even hopeful that it can help with some of the harder-to fight cancers as well. The other great feature is that it can add some delicious flavor to a meal, so it’s not very hard to start getting more of it.

turmeric

Turmeric

This superspice even gets props from the American Cancer Society for its antioxidant value. They do state that it’s too early to tell if research being conducted on it proves that these antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory benefits. But time and time again it seems that ages old wisdom gets proven right, and this is a spice that has been used for hundreds of years for its healing benefits. With all that we know about antioxidants and the way they help prevent and also assist in eradicating cancer, it’s easy enough to start using it now.

beans

Beans

It seems that you can’t go wrong when choosing your beans. Whether they’re white beans which Dr. Oz recommends, or navy or black beans, the research shows that they’re able to provide plenty of fiber and fatty acids that help provide protection against cancer growth, before it starts or helping to prevent its spread. You don’t have to go all out and start eating beans at every meal in order to reap the benefits. You simply start adding roughly half a cup just a couple of times a week and you’ll be covered.

dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

The antioxidants in dark chocolate have only recently made the news as being a healthy thing to have in your diet. For years it was thought that chocolate only made you fat and was a form of sweet that was bad for your health. This is still true for milk chocolate, and the healthy benefits only apply to dark chocolate. The less processed chocolate you can find, the better, as many companies like to tinker with it, it can be hard to find it in an untouched form. Look for pure and organic dark chocolate, and satisfy your craving without going overboard.

Read more: http://bembu.com/cancer-fighting-foods

A Scientific Breakthrough for Brain Tumors in Children

Stanford: Scientists Illuminate Brain Tumors in Mice

With the use of a “molecular flashlight” scientists hope to target tumors medulloblastomas in children one of the most devastating of the malignant childhood brain tumors.

Jennifer Cochran and Matthew Scott have created a bioengineered peptide that has been shown in mice to provide better imaging of a type of brain tumor known as medulloblastoma. Credit John Todd.
Jennifer Cochran and Matthew Scott have created a bioengineered peptide that has been shown in mice to provide better imaging of a type of brain tumor known as medulloblastoma. Credit John Todd.

In a breakthrough that could have wide-ranging applications in molecular medicine, Stanford University researchers have created a bioengineered peptide that enables imaging of medulloblastomas, among the most devastating of malignant childhood brain tumors, in lab mice.

The team used their invention as a “molecular flashlight” to distinguish tumors from surrounding healthy tissue. After injecting their bioengineered knottin into the bloodstreams of mice with medulloblastomas, the researchers found that the peptide stuck tightly to the tumors and could be detected using a high-sensitivity digital camera.

The findings are described in a study published online Aug. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Researchers have been interested in this class of peptides for some time,” said Jennifer Cochran, PhD, an associate professor of bioengineering and a senior author of the study. “They’re extremely stable. For example, you can boil some of these peptides or expose them to harsh chemicals, and they’ll remain intact.” That makes them potentially valuable in molecular medicine. Knottins could be used to deliver drugs to specific sites in the body or, as Cochran and her colleagues have demonstrated, as a means of illuminating tumors.
For treatment purposes, it’s critical to obtain accurate images of medulloblastomas. In conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the tumors are often treated by surgical resection, and it can be difficult to remove them while leaving healthy tissue intact because their margins are often indistinct.

“With brain tumors, you really need to get the entire tumor and leave as much unaffected tissue as possible,” Cochran said. “These tumors can come back very aggressively if not completely removed, and their location makes cognitive impairment a possibility if healthy tissue is taken.”

The researchers’ molecular flashlight works by recognizing a biomarker on human tumors. The bioengineered knottin is conjugated to a near-infrared imaging dye. When injected into the bloodstreams of a strain of mice that develop tumors similar to human medullublastomas, the peptide attaches to the brain tumors’ integrin receptors — sticky molecules that aid in adhesion to other cells.

But while the knottins stuck like glue to tumors, they were rapidly expelled from healthy tissue. “So the mouse brain tumors are readily apparent,” Cochran said. “They differentiate beautifully from the surrounding brain tissue.”

The new peptide represents a major advance in tumor-imaging technology, said Melanie Hayden Gephart, MD, neurosurgery chief resident at the Stanford Brain Tumor Center and a lead author of the paper.

“The most common technique to identify brain tumors relies on preoperative, intravenous injection of a contrast agent, enabling most tumors to be visualized on a magnetic resonance imaging scan,” Gephart said. These MRI scans are used like in a computer program much like an intraoperative GPS system to locate and resect the tumors.

“But that has limitations,” she added. “When you’re using the contrast in an MRI scan to define the tumor margins, you’re basically working off a preoperative snapshot. The brain can sometimes shift during an operation, so there’s always the possibility you may not be as precise or accurate as you want to be. The great potential advantage of this new approach would be to illuminate the tumor in real time — you could see it directly under your microscope instead of relying on an image that was taken before surgery.”

Though the team’s research focused on medulloblastomas, Gephart said it’s likely the new knottins could prove useful in addressing other cancers.

“We know that integrins exist on many types of tumors,” she said. “The blood vessels that tumors develop to sustain themselves also contain integrins. So this has the potential for providing very detailed, real-time imaging for a wide variety of tumors.”

And imaging may not be the only application for the team’s engineered peptide.

“We’re very interested in related opportunities,” Cochran said. “We envision options we didn’t have before for getting molecules into the brain.” In other words, by substituting drugs for dye, the knottins might allow the delivery of therapeutic compounds directly to cranial tumors — something that has proved extremely difficult to date because of the blood/brain barrier, the mechanism that makes it difficult for pathogens, as well as medicines, to traverse from the bloodstream to the brain.

“We’re looking into it now,” Cochran said.

A little serendipity was involved in the peptide’s development, said Sarah Moore, a recently graduated bioengineering PhD student and another lead author of the study. Indeed, the propinquity of Cochran’s laboratory to co-author Matthew Scott’s lab at Stanford’s James H. Clark Center catalyzed the project. “Our labs are next to each other,” Moore said. “We had the peptide, and Matt had ideal models of pediatric brain tumors  —mice that develop tumors in a similar manner to human medulloblastomas. Our partnership grew out of that.”

Scott, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of developmental biology, credits the design of the Clark Center as a contributor to the project. The building is home to Stanford’s Bioengineering Department, a collaboration between the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine, and Stanford Bio-X, an initiative that encourages communication among researchers in diverse scientific disciplines.

“So in a very real sense, our project wasn’t an accident,” Scott said. “In fact, it’s exactly the kind of work the Clark Center was meant to foster. The lab spaces are wide and open, with very few walls and lots of glass. We have a restaurant that only has large tables — no tables for two, so people have to sit together. Everything is designed to increase the odds that people will meet and talk. It’s a form of social engineering that really works.”

Scott said he is gratified by the collaboration that led to the team’s breakthrough, and observed that the peptide has proved a direct boon to his own work. About 15 percent of Scott’s mice develop the tumors requisite for medulloblastoma research. The problem, he said, is that the cancers are cryptic in their early stages.

“By the time you know the mice have them, many of the things you want to study — the genesis and development of the tumors — are past,” Scott said. “We needed ways to detect these tumors early, and we needed methods for following the steps of tumor genesis.”

Ultimately, Scott concluded, the development of the new peptide can be attributed to Stanford’s long-established traditions of openness and relentless inquiry.

“You find not just a willingness, but an eagerness to exchange ideas and information here,” Scott said. “It transcends any competitive instinct, any impulse toward proprietary thinking. It is what makes Stanford — well, Stanford.”

The Stanford Center for Children’s Brain Tumors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is supporting ongoing work by the group to translate the new technology into patient care. Additional funding came from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Stanford Cancer Institute, the National Science Foundation, a Stanford University graduate fellowship, a Siebel Scholars fellowship, a Gerald J. Lieberman fellowship, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Stanford Child Health Research Institute.

Other Stanford co-authors were postdoctoral scholar Jamie Bergen, PhD; medical student Yourong Sophie Su; and life science research assistant Helen Rayburn.

Glen Martin is a freelance writer in Santa Rosa, Calif., for the School of Engineering’s communications office.

Courtesy of the Stanford News Service

For more information: http://paloalto.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/stanford-scientists-illuminate-brain-tumors-in-mice

Inspiration Spotlight: Liz Salmi

Operation life

Liz Salmi is just a gal living in Sacramento, who likes to hang out with her husband and loves her job in communications. After she was diagnosed with brain cancer five years ago, however, Salmi began using her blog, The Liz Army (www.thelizarmy.com), to keep loved ones in the loop on her cancer status. Now, Salmi reaches thousands with the site, using posts to advocate for the National Brain Tumor Society. Salmi sat down with SN&R to talk about blogging, her advocacy work, living with brain cancer and, really, just living.

When were you diagnosed with brain cancer?Liz Salmi

July 2008. I had just turned 29. My first symptom was a really big seizure. So, that’s how I found out, from a seizure.

So, where are you now?

I’m done with treatment. Where I’m at is there’s still cancerous tissue in there. I’ve had two surgeries to try to get rid of as much of it as possible right away, and then I was put on an oral chemotherapy pill. I have been off that pill for two years, and I get scans … every four months to watch the brain. It’s still there, it’s just kind of frozen, deer-in-the-headlights style. [When the] tumor is still there, as long as it doesn’t change, you’re good.

When did you start using your blog specifically for cancer updates?

Well, when you have a crazy disease, everyone wants to know what’s going on, and I let everyone know I had a brain tumor, and I was going to have brain surgery. I got my cellphone, which they shouldn’t have given me, and I created a text message, like, “I have a brain tumor. I’m going to have brain surgery in three days.” I copied everyone in my phone, and I sent it. I was out of it, so my boyfriend at the time started emailing everyone updates, and I thought, “You know, rather than emailing everyone updates, I should just open up the blog and let them follow along that way.”

What has the response been?

I’m getting about 12,000 to 13,000 unique visitors every year. It’s not just people with brain cancer. It’s their loved [ones]. It seems like your friend gets diagnosed, and you want to talk to them every day, but you know they’re busy, so you’re trying to find out what’s this like, and so you read this stuff, and [they realize], “Oh, so that’s what they’re going through.” It’s not exactly the same, but then, people feel like they can understand what their friend is going through.

How has social media helped you in your recovery in living with your disease?

The blog is a conduit for me to find other people like me. I am able to develop an online network of people who know what it’s like. We don’t all have the same type of tumor, we don’t all have the same symptoms, we might not all have the same treatment, but we all experience the same fear or guilt. So, there’s no way I can walk out on the street and meet that person, but through social media and this online world, I am able to make those connections.

What is the worst thing anyone has said to you about your diagnosis?

I was on the phone with my sister … about a month-and-a-half after the diagnosis, and she was just like, “I don’t know how to react. I’m really scared. It seems like everyone’s getting cancer. First it was you, now my dog has cancer.” I was like, “Can you really compare the two?” I don’t think she realized, but I was just like, wow.

Best thing anyone’s said?

Having a blog and writing about all my experiences, I get lots of feedback through the comments section, and then there’s Twitter and there’s Facebook. Even just the first time hearing that I wrote something and it’s exactly how someone else feels—one, I don’t feel alone, and two, [it feels] cool that someone else felt like I said what they feel.

You’re also an advocate for the National Brain Tumor Society.

I am an unpaid volunteer, but I am the lead advocate for the state of California—which is a huge state. I’m like, “Can there be more of us?” There’s just a couple of national brain-tumor organizations. [The National Brain Tumor Society] is the biggest one, and they deal mainly with advocacy.

Greatest ambition?

Right now, I’m living, and I think a lot about [that] I have this disease, and I’m going to accomplish this. I would love to get out of that one day and live like a normal person and not think about accomplishments and checking things off related to my disease. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get there, but that would be cool.

http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/operation-life/content?oid=10929156

In Catherine’s Words

Ben and Catherine

“Ben loved the art of deal-making and one of his greatest strengths was turning challenges into opportunities. He was not afraid of risk, which is why we will not only fund science of merit but “riskier” science.”

-Catherine Ivy