After her St Albans-based best friend died of brain cancer, a teenager has started a fundraiser to help find a cure for the disease.

Amber Cleveland, from Norwich, met best friend Ellie Butterfield online in 2017.

With similar tastes in music and other interests, they arranged to meet in person in 2019, with their parents present to ensure safety.

"We clicked straight away; it was brilliant, like it was meant to be”, commented Amber, when speaking of the pair's initial meeting.

Sadly, Ellie began suffering from double vision and, at the age of 11, was diagnosed with grade 3 ependymoma.

Herts Advertiser: Ellie Butterfield with her mum Helen and dad Dean.Ellie Butterfield with her mum Helen and dad Dean. (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

She underwent two debulking surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and even travelled to the US for proton beam therapy.

However, in January 2021 - just one week before her 16th birthday - Ellie sadly passed away.

Amber continued: “She managed to tick off a big bucket list trip to Japan at the beginning of November 2020.

"After she got home, having been told further surgery wasn’t an option, it was a case of trying to combat her tumour in any other way they could.

"This is when I noticed a serious decline in Ellie. She was tired and from the beginning of January I gradually heard less and less from her.

"She passed away at home on January 28 in the company of her parents and dogs.

"Ellie was the best friend I could have ever asked for.

"I’ve got four brothers so she was like the sister I never had, so bright and bubbly, even whilst horribly sick. She never let her tumour get the better of her.

"She stayed active, horse riding and going to car meets, and loved photography, Pokémon and anime.

Herts Advertiser: Best friends Ellie Butterfield and Amber Cleveland.Best friends Ellie Butterfield and Amber Cleveland. (Image: Brain Tumour Research)

"She was so full of character, probably more than anyone I have or will ever meet.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Amber was unable to say goodbye to Ellie in person.

Instead, she wrote a letter which was cremated alongside her and read a eulogy at the teenager's funeral, which just 12 people were permitted to attend.

Yesterday (Tuesday, October 31), Amber and friends held a fundraiser in aid of Brain Tumour Research at The Brewery Tap in Lawson Road, Norwich.

“We decided we wanted to do something special in Ellie’s memory... she absolutely loved Halloween so doing it then made sense.

"It’s incredibly frustrating to know that, despite brain tumours being the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40, just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to the disease since records began in 2002.

"People think it’s a rare cancer but it’s not and it doesn’t discriminate.

"Ellie never got to live the life she deserved and there are so many other young people not getting the chance they deserve because of the historic lack of investment in brain tumour research.

"It’s so unfair.

"Our governments have failed us by failing to ensure adequate funds are allocated to this deadly disease and, even now, it feels like they’re not listening.”

A JustGiving page started by Amber has a target of £500, and can be seen at

Charlie Allsebrook community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three of us knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, Ellie’s story is, sadly, not unique.

"It is, however, a stark reminder of the indiscriminate nature of brain tumours, which can affect anyone at any time.

“We’re determined to improve treatment options for patients and, ultimately, find a cure, but we can’t do it alone.

"We’re so grateful to Amber and her friends for organising this event, which sounds like a great way to honour Ellie whilst helping to raise vital funds for research.”