A woman who lost her 32-year-old husband nine months after his diagnosis with an aggressive, incurable brain tumour, is helping to fund the fight to find a cure for the devastating disease.

Laura St Jude, a singer/songwriter who lives in Johnstone, has set up a Fundraising Group called the Dale Barclay Fund in memory of her musician husband who had undergone all the standard NHS treatment for a glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour.

Laura and Dale met on the Glasgow music scene when Laura was 20 and Dale was 26. Dale was then the frontman and lead guitarist of the rock ‘n roll band, The Amazing Snakeheads.

Photo: Laura with Dale after his operation

Photo: Laura and Dale performing in Stockton during summer in 2018
Photo Credit: Andy Lochrie

Laura said: “The survival prognosis for GBM is 12 to 18 months, but by the time Dale was diagnosed, four weeks after his first seizure, we had so little time left together. Despite knowing the grim facts about GBM, Dale was adamant we had to stay positive and we got married after a three-year engagement and spent most of our days writing and recording, talking, eating and meditating. He was always so resilient, but I suppose he had little choice after his diagnosis.”

Despite crowdfunding to have a private second surgery when the tumour grew back, because he had been refused another craniotomy on the NHS, Dale suffered a fatal seizure five days later on 25th September 2018, lost consciousness and never woke up.

His death was recorded as due to cerebral oedema (swelling of the brain), with GBM a secondary cause.

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.

Laura said: “Although a heavy weight to bear, I’m blessed with a whole new perspective on how fragile our time is.

“Having lived in isolation during the pandemic, apart from the company of a dog I welcomed into my life two years ago, I am now setting up the Dale Barclay Fund to help fund research that will move us forwards towards extending life for brain tumour patients and ultimately finding a cure.

“Before he died, Dale wrote and recorded a song called Wild at Heart, which I finished in his memory. I’ve released this track both digitally and on physical vinyl, with all profits going to Brain Tumour Research. We’ve sold 200 vinyl copies to date – just 100 more to go!”

Photo: Dale Barclay
Photo Credit: Flavian Dubourget

Less than 12% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers.

GBM Awareness Week got underway in the UK on Monday (18th July). According to Brain Tumour Research, GBM is the most commonly diagnosed high-grade brain tumour in adults. It is fast-growing and the average survival time is just 12 to 18 months. Treatment options are extremely limited and there is no cure.

Matthew Price, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We were really sorry to hear about Dale’s death and the loss Laura and their families have endured as a result of this devastating disease. Sadly, with one in three people knowing someone with a brain tumour, his story is not unique.

“Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this but it’s only by working together that we will be able to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure. We’re really grateful to Laura for her support in setting up the Dale Barclay Fund. We hope people who read about Dale’s loss will be inspired to buy a copy of his record.”

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. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To buy a copy of Wild at Heart and support Brain Tumour Research, go to https://dalebarclay.bandcamp.com/releases.

To donate to the Dale Barclay Fund go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thedalebarclayfund.

And to find out more about GBM Awareness Week, visit www.braintumourresearch.org/info-support/raising-awareness-of-GBM.

Headline image: Dale enjoying a cuppa in 2018