A participant to the 100,000 Genomes Project has written an award-winning book, with royalties going towards a charity, Brain Tumour Research.
Katie Smith (pictured with husband Luke), who lives in Stourbridge, was recruited to the project at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).
UHB is the lead organisation for the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC), one of 13 centres across England.
Katie’s book, The Pumpkin Project, won Lorraine’s Top Tales in 2016, a competition for the best unpublished children’s book.
Over three thousand entries were shortlisted to three finalists, which featured on Lorraine Kelly, with Katie’s book selected as a winner.
Royalties from The Pumpkin Project, about a little girl who grows an enormous pumpkin with the help of her Grandpa, will go towards Brain Tumour Research, the leading brain cancer charity in the country.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of forty than any other cancer, yet treatment and research into brain tumours receive less funding than other cancer types.
After brain tumour surgery in 2015, Katie has since had surgery to remove a recurrent tumour, and was recruited at UHB earlier this year.
“In my opinion, initiatives like the 100,000 Genomes Project are vital to the future of modern medicine”, Katie explains.
“If my contribution can be the first steps towards saving someone in the future, then that’s definitely worth a few blood tests and donation of tissue samples.
“The only way we will find more effective treatments is by exploring rare conditions in more detail, such as through genome sequencing.
“Since becoming a mum, it’s even more important to me that my boy grows up in a world where we don’t have incurable conditions like brain cancer.”
The WMGMC is recruiting participants with certain cancers, as well as those with eligible rare diseases and their families from across the West Midlands.
Variations between cancer patients’ healthy blood and their cancerous tumours will be analysed and compared to improve medical knowledge about the causes of cancer, which may lead to more effective, personalised treatments.
More information about The Pumpkin Project is available here.
Katie has also recently started a blog, which can be read at https://babiesbooksandbraintumours.wordpress.com/
For more information about Brain Tumour Research, visit https://www.braintumourresearch.org/