Phoebe, seven, wants to 'make mummy proud' with brain tumour research campaign

Updated: 

A seven-year-old schoolgirl is trying to make her "mummy proud" by raising money for research into brain tumours as she faces her first Christmas without her.

Phoebe Hope Vines has become the face of Brain Tumour Research's Christmas campaign to raise awareness and funds for studies examining the disease.

Her grandmother, Claire Vines, said last Christmas the youngster asked Santa for a Shopkins toy and "for her mum not to die".

But Becky Vines passed away in June, aged 31.

Phoebe Hope Vines with her mother Becky
Phoebe Hope Vines with her mother Becky (Handout/PA)

The charity said Phoebe has already raised thousands of pounds for research into brain tumours.

Ms Vines, from Tetford in Lincolnshire, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008. The diagnosis was unexpected as she had only attended hospital after hurting her foot during a house move.

Ms Vines couldn't move her toes, and it was assumed that the symptom had arisen from a bump during the move. But her doctor referred her for a CT scan as a precaution and it revealed a large mass on her brain.

She was diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma multiforme and told that she only had a year to live. But after various treatments the tumour remained stable and "against the odds" she became a mother in 2010 to Phoebe.

The youngster - who now lives with her grandparents Claire and Steve Vine, also from Tetford - is featured in the charity's Christmas campaign which includes the message: "Dear mummy, I miss you so much this Christmas. Love you forever, Phoebe."

Phoebe Hope Vines with her mother Becky Vines visiting Santa in 2016
Phoebe with her mother visiting Santa in 2016 (Handout/PA)

The schoolgirl added: "I am seven years old and my mummy died of a brain tumour in June. I really miss her. She wanted me to be happy and I want to make her proud of me."

Grandmother Claire said: "Phoebe had always known she was going to lose her mum and now we are Moma and Popa. Becky's tumour was stable for six years but its presence was always there, casting a shadow, and it was as if we were living on a knife-edge.

"Although she was stable for a while, by October last year it was looking as if Becky had just weeks left. We chose to celebrate Christmas early explaining to Phoebe that it would probably be Mummy's last.

"They visited Santa in his grotto and Phoebe made a wish for two things: a Shopkins toy and for her mum not to die. It was just so sad.

Phoebe Hope Vines with her mother Becky Vines
Last Christmas Becky asked Santa for a Shopkins toy and "for her mum not to die" (Handout/PA)

"This year, we face our first Christmas without her. Becky was an inspiration and she always managed to be so positive throughout everything.

"Phoebe is a delightful child, so strong and so much like her mum. She told her class at school that there was no cure for brain tumours because there wasn't enough money to pay scientists to find one. We are extraordinarily proud of Phoebe and her fundraising and I know Becky would be too."

Brain Tumour Research said the disease kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years.

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: https://t.co/1GntsBLVsApic.twitter.com/evq3o2e15z

-- BrainTumourResearch (@braintumourrsch) December 2, 2017

Carol Robertson, head of community fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, said: "Claire, Phoebe and their family are such an inspiration with their commitment to supporting our cause, particularly so soon after their loss.

"Sadly, Becky's story is far from unique - brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer. We are campaigning to see the national spend on research into brain tumours increased to £30 - £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia."

:: To find out more visit: www.braintumourresearch.org or text HOPE to 70144 to donate £5.