Hats off to Joanne and Paula!

paula on the right
paula on the right

TWO Spen women who lost loved ones to brain tumours are baring almost all in a calendar to raise cash for neurological cancer charities.

Joanne Crawshaw and Paula Smyczok are among a group inspired by the Calendar Girls to strip to their birthday suits with only strategically placed props covering their modesty in aid of Brain Tumour Research and Support across Yorkshire (BTRS).

Joanne, from Liversedge, lost her four-year-old daughter Isobel May in August 2009.

She said the day her daughter was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma was devastating.

“Her prognosis was poor from the outset, but she remained full of life and took her treatment in her stride,” she said.

Sadly, six months later Isobel had a brain stem stroke and passed away peacefully two days later in her parents’ arms.

Joanne said: “Isobel was our only child and I miss my little girl so very much. I am incredibly proud of her bravery and courage, and am honoured to be her mummy. The hole she left in our lives is cavernous and we will never recover. We want to raise enough money for research to stop other families suffering in this way in the future.”

Paula, from Heckmondwike, lost her partner Andy Beaumont six weeks after he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma tumour on his brain stem in November 2005.

She said: “Andy was my partner in life for over 30 years. He was a perfectly fit, do anything 52 year old, and within six weeks of being diagnosed he had died.

“His surgeon told me brain tumours were still treated the same way as they were 40 years ago, and that funding for research always went to the most widely known forms of cancer, like breast and lung.”

She decided to get involved after seeing posters about the calendar at Leeds General Infirmary.

She said: “Andy would have loved it – we went to watch the film Calendar Girls, as it was filmed at Burnsall which was one of our favourite spots in the Dales!”

The Calendar Girls were a group of women who raised more than £2m for leukaemia and lymphoma research. Their story was made into a Hollywood film .

Inspired by their story, Carol Robertson of the Brain Tumour Research and Support charity, and Tina Boden, of Ellie’s Fund Brain Tumour Trust, collaborated to create their own fundraising calendar, called Raise your Hats for Research 2012. The hats were provided by Get Ahead Hats in Pickering.

The calendar costs £10. Visit www.justgiving.com/calendarsales to pay and reserve a copy.