WAHD 2016
Plymouth University is home to one of the world’s leading research teams investigating brain tumours, and it is also one of charity Brain Tumour Research’s Research Centres of Excellence.
This month is Brain Tumour Awareness Month, and throughout the month and beyond the University is holding a number of events to help it raise the £1 million pounds a year needed to run its research into brain tumours, in association with charity partner Brain Tumour Research.
Central to the fundraising activity is the Wear A Hat Day Challenge. Based on Brain Tumour Research’s main Wear A Hat Day on 24 March, the challenge is a coordinated fundraising effort using friendly competition between participants as a motivator to raise as much money as possible during March.
A number of participants are taking part in the challenge, including Plymouth Argyle, Plymouth Raiders, Santander, UPSU (the students’ union) and staff across Plymouth University.
On Wear A Hat Day cafes across the University will be selling hat-shaped cakes and donations can be made using custom-built collection boxes designed by 3D design students and which will be launched on that day.
On Wear A Hat Day itself there will be a bake off and cake sale in the Roland Levinsky Building between 1100 and 1300, a mass hat-throwing on the University’s main campus and at the Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry on Plymouth Science Park, a sponsored team cycle on static bikes, a Brain Tumour Research lab tour and collections throughout the day manned by teams from Santander.
Elsewhere in the city and at other times there are a variety of fundraising activities. The Plymouth Argyle versus Luton match on 19 March will support fundraising activity for Brain Tumour Research, as will a Colour Dash organised by UPSU on the main campus on 20 March.
The Plymouth Raiders match against Cheshire Phoenix on 27 March will raise money and awareness for the cause, a Plymouth University team will run the Plymouth Half-Marathon in aid of the research, and a Brain Tumour Research Swimathon will take place on 7 May. This is supported by Plymouth University, Plymouth Leander and Everyone Active, and is promoted by international swimmers Ruta Meilutyte, Ben Proud, Moniek Nijhuis, Mindaugas Sadauskas and Juliette Casini.
The brain tumour research team in Plymouth, one of four Research Centres of Excellence supported by charity Brain Tumour Research, are focusing on identifying and understanding the mechanism that makes a cell become cancerous. They are exploring ways in which to halt or reverse that mechanism. An innovation will be testing new drugs in human primary cell cultures leading to innovative phase 0 trials. It is hoped this will be followed by adaptive phase II/III trials with the potential for making drug therapies available to patients safely and more quickly. 
The team is led by Professor Oliver Hanemann, Associate Dean Research at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. He commented: 
“It is heartening and humbling to know that so many people are coming together across the city to help raise awareness and funds for our work. Research into brain tumours receives only one per cent of the total amount spent on cancer research. Through our partnership with Brain Tumour Research we hope to increase both awareness and funding.”
Plymouth University Director of Development, Christian Burden, added: 
“These activities represent a superb effort from our partners and from across the University. It is great to see people working together to support our research into brain tumours and to celebrate our relationship with Brain Tumour Research. Local support – from individuals, organisations and businesses – is a vital component of our ongoing research.”
If you would like to support research at Plymouth University, please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/campaign, email campaign@plymouth.ac.uk or call 01752 588045. Your support can make all the difference.