A woman from Ayr has been hailed at a London awards ceremony for her hard work in fighting for those affected by a brain tumour.

Heather Dearie picked up the prestigious Change Maker Award for her work to raise awareness and drive change after her own brain tumour diagnosis.

The Brain Tumour Charity’s community-led awards took place on Tuesday, April 4 at London’s Business Design Centre, with comedian and presenter Hal Cruttenden hosting.

The Celebrating You Awards were an opportunity to give something back to the inspiring people who’ve gone above and beyond to make a difference to the lives of those affected by a brain tumour.

The awards celebrated of the most outstanding people in the brain tumour community – whether they’ve been spreading awareness of brain tumours, raising vital funds to help defeat brain tumours, campaigning for change or supporting families affected by this awful disease.

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The award given to Heather recognises someone who’s stepped up to support the charity’s policy and campaigning work, bringing issues to attention or making the caser to those in power.

Heather said: “I was shocked I was nominated for this award, and definitely didn’t expect to actually win it.

"But I’m so honoured and thankful to all the charity's supporters who nominated me and to the judging panel who decided I should win.

"Being involved with the Brain Tumour Charity has been so rewarding all these years.”

Heather was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma brain tumour in 2010 and has tirelessly campaigned and raised funds for The Brain Tumour Charity since 2014.

She regularly volunteers to attend Scottish government workshops to ensure that The Charity’s perspective is heard.

Heather is part of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce’s ‘Patient Advocate Group’, recently meeting with cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf and sharing her story and highlighting the need to address healthcare policy when it comes to brain tumour patients.

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Heather said: “I am adding my voice to the Brain Tumour Charity’s call to drive earlier diagnosis because I am a poster child for the difference that earlier diagnosis would have made.

“My [former] local MSP, John Scott, was always particularly supportive of the charity in our local area, and always champions our fundraiser events.

"But it’s vital that his support is echoed by the rest of the government, which is why I’m keen to add my voice to the charity’s efforts.”

Hal Cruttenden said: ”I was honoured to return to host The Brain Tumour Charity’s Celebrating You Awards,  wonderful evening and event that unties so many in the community and showcases some outstanding contributions to The Charity’s work.

“Their fearless change-makers are dedicated to ensuring the needs of people affected by a brain tumour are recognised by those in power. Heather has continued to step forward to steer the direction of The Charity’s work and provided a platform for the community’s voices for change.”

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Graham Norton, the Brain Tumour Charity’s interim CEO said: “First and foremost, the Celebrating You Awards recognise the incredible, inspiring members of our community who’ve gone above and beyond to create change in the last two years.

“Without them, we simply couldn’t have the same amazing impact, from investing in world-class research and raising renewed awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours, to providing essential support to the community. 

“Whether an invaluable volunteer, fearless fundraiser or tireless campaigner, a relentless researcher, heroic healthcare professional or dedicated corporate partner –we’re incredibly grateful for, and wholeheartedly celebrate, everything they’re doing to help ensure those diagnosed with a brain tumour live longer and have better lives.”