Girl, eight, who battled brain tumour chosen to launch cancer charity event

A girl who spent her last birthday in hospital being treated for a brain tumour has been chosen to launch a major cancer research fundraising event.

Aurora Farren, eight, endured several rounds of chemotherapy and also underwent proton beam therapy after being diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumour on March 1 last year.

Almost one year on she is clear of cancer and is back at school in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire.

She has now been chosen to launch Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Scotland, a series of events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding research.

She has been invited to sound the horn at the start line at Race for Life Aberdeen at Beach Esplanade on June 30 where she will be joined by her parents, Jenna, 34, and David Farren, 41, and her sister Ada, six.

Aurora Farren (second from right) with her mother Jenna, 34, sister Ada and father David
Aurora Farren (second from right) with her mother Jenna, sister Ada and father David (Simon Price/Cancer Research UK/PA)

“Aurora has been nothing short of amazing through everything. She hasn’t complained or made a fuss. She has just powered through.

“Even on the hardest of days, I was in absolute awe of how she coped with everything life handed her in the past year.

“From being told she had cancer to spending her birthday in the high dependency unit, to losing her beautiful red hair and spending weeks upon weeks far away from home, Aurora has been a shining star.

“Why do I race for life? I’ll be proud to cross the finish line at Race for Life for Aurora this year.”

Aurora’s cancer was discovered last year while she was being closely monitored having previously been diagnosed with a rare condition known as diabetes insipidus.

Doctors explained to the family that pituitary gland tumours are brain tumours that start to grow in the pituitary gland.

Aurora, who turns nine on March 31, was in the high dependency unit at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital on her eighth birthday last year enduring her first round of chemotherapy.

Her treatment included four rounds of chemotherapy, each lasting five days, and four blood transfusions.

She also had six weeks of proton beam therapy at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, which started on June 25 last year.

Aurora wearing a radiotherapy mask she painted like the Marvel character Venom (Family handout/PA)
Aurora wearing a radiotherapy mask she painted like the Marvel character Venom (Family handout/PA)

Unlike the x-rays used in conventional radiotherapy, protons stop at the tumour, which potentially gives a more targeted treatment and reduces the damage to surrounding tissues.

Aurora was fitted with a made-to-measure mask to ensure the correct part of her head was targeted during the radiotherapy and chose to paint the Marvel character Venom onto the mask, which she wore for each session.

She completed her cancer treatment in August 2023 after the proton beam therapy in Manchester and is monitored regularly, but is now clear of cancer.

The first Race for Life events of the year start in Stirling and South Queensferry on Sunday May 5, followed with events everywhere from Edinburgh and Dundee to Inverness and Irvine.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We are grateful to Aurora and all their family for their support and know their story will make an impact on everyone who hears it.

“No matter how cancer affects us, life is worth racing for. Sadly nearly one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime.

“Race for Life has the power not only to transform lives, but to save them. We’re proud that Race for Life has already helped double survival rates in the UK.

“We’d love for as many people as possible across Scotland to join us at Race for Life.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with headline sponsor Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, is a series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids races.

Anyone wishing to enter can find out more at

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