Ali's Dream charity was set up by Alison Phelan's family and friends to raise funds for research into discovering the causes, advancing treatments and finding a cure for childhood brain tumours.

Sadly this was spurred on by the loss of Alison at the beginning of June 2001, three weeks before her eighth birthday. Ali was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2000. Her family did not give up hope, exploring many avenues to find their miracle cure. They discovered that there is very little research being undertaken in this particular cancer area. The chances of finding a cure in the next five years are very remote. What's more, after accidents, brain tumours are now the biggest cancer killer of children under fifteen.

Having lost Ali, the family are united in grief, but also united in the determination to do something so that a cure can be found sooner rather than later. The following have kindly agreed to be patrons: Lorraine Kelly (TV presenter), David Connolly (Republic of Ireland and Wigan footballer), Mr & Mrs Colin Montgomerie (Golfer), Susan Hampshire (Actress), Sheila Hancock (Actress)
Ali's Dream needs your help in the fight against childhood brain tumors by way of donation. If you would like to help us in this fight, please click on the button below and donate using Just Giving.

It only takes a minute and will help us more than you can imagine in our battle against this dreadful illness.

Everyone working for Ali's Dream is voluntary, therefore every penny donated goes directly towards research into finding a cure.

Please click on the button below.

Medical & Scientific Advisory Board

Ali's Dream Scientific and Medical Advisory Board is chaired by Professor Geoffrey Pilkington, University of Portsmouth and includes:

  • Dr Anthony Michelski, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, Great Ormond Street Hospital

  • Mr Dominic Thompson, Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon, Great Ormond Street Hospital

  • Dr Frank Saran, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey, and

  • Dr Paul Scotting, Genetics, Paediatric Brain Tumour Centre, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham

Professor Geoffrey J Pilkington
BSc PhD CBiol FIBiol FRCPath

Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neuro-oncology
School of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences
University of Portsmouth

Professor Pilkington has been involved in brain tumour research since 1971 and has published numerous scientific papers, particularly in the field of neuro-carcinogenesis and brain tumour cell invasion into the normal brain.

He is currently involved in clinical trials (supported by the Samantha Dickson Research Trust) using the tricyclic drug, clomipramine, as a putative anti-tumour agent in malignant brain tumours.

He has served on committees of the British Neuropathological Society, the European Association for Neuro-oncology, the British Neuro-oncology Group and has organized numerous brain tumour conferences, both national and international.

He is currently a co-ordinator of the International Glioma Invasion Forum series and contributes lectures on the structure and function of the brain and on the biology of brain tumours to diverse course run by various UK universities.

In the mid-1990's he catalysed the formation of UKBTS by bringing together a number of brain tumour charities and individuals with the common goal of facilitating improved research and treatment strategies.

He is also a member of the Scientific & Medical Advisory Boards of the Samantha Dickson Research Trust, Charlie's Challenge and Ali's Dream.

In his "free" time he is a keen cricketer & rugby enthusiast.

Dr Antony Michalski

Ski has been a consultant paediatric oncologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital since 1994 and has a special interest in tumours of the brain and spine. His medical training included two periods in the USA and a four year PhD project into the molecular biology of childhood tumours. He is a member of the United Kingdom Children's Cancer Study Group Brain Tumour Committee and is a lead investigator on national brain tumour trials. He is also a member of the brain tumour committee of SIOP, the international children's cancer organisation. As part of a strong multidisciplinary team at Great Ormond Street Hospital there is ample opportunity for the development of new therapies and research activity.

He also tells us that he eats too much and has an awful taste in ties!


Frank Saran MD
Consultant Clinical Oncologist
Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust

I was originally trained in Germany but came to the UK in early 1997 to complete my training in the UK. I was appointed Consultant Oncologist with a specific interest in paediatric malignancies, brain tumours and soft tissue and bone sarcomas at Velindre Hospital NHS Trust in Cardiff, Wales in mid 1998. Subsequently I was appointed Consultant Clinical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust in June 2001. My current position involves the provision of radiotherapy services to all paediatric patients of this trust as well as a medical and clinical service for adult patients with primary CNS malignancies. I am the lead clinician for the paediatric neuro-oncology services and have developed a special interest in both development of new clinical trials and quality control of radiotherapy as well as evaluating late sequelae for children with brain tumours. I am an active member of the UKCCSG and have been invited to the UKCCSG brain tumour group, late effects group and germ cell tumour group. I am a study co-ordinator or study chairman of several UKCCSG studies and represent the UKCCSG together with a paediatric oncology colleague in the current European SIOP CNS Germ cell tumour study group. Additionally I am member of several further groups with a specific interest in brain tumours such as the British Neuro-Oncology Group and European Association of Neuro-Oncology.

Within my membership with the European Society of Paediatric Oncology I have become a member of the brain tumour sub-committee and I am actively involved the development of current European protocols for children and adolescent with primary brain tumours.

Dr Paul Scotting
Senior Lecturer - Genetics
Paediatric Brain Tumour Centre
Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham

I obtained my PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Labs in London (now part of CRUK) after which I went to Cambridge for three years prior to taking up a lectureship in Biochemistry in Nottingham. Since 1999 I have been a Senior Lecturer in Genetics in Nottingham's Queen's medical Centre. I have a long standing interest in the genetic basis of brain and spine development that has led me to take an interest in CNS tumours in Children. I was lucky enough to link up with David Walker and Jonathan Punt at the inception of the Nottingham Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre which triggered my active involvement in investigating the links between the normal developing brain and tumours that arise within it. I am a member of the Genetics Society of Great Britain, the UKCCSG and was, until recently, on the national committee of the British Society for Developmental Biology.

I have been fortunate in being invited to speak at several International meeting of paediatric and neuro-oncologists to present and debate the value of basic studies in embryology to the understanding of children's brain tumours.

Outside of work, I can be found running a taxi service for my three children, or occasionally running wildly through the Sherwood forests in the bizarre sport that is orienteering.