Dame Tessa Jowell has been secretly battling brain cancer, her family have revealed. Taking to Instagram on the Labour peer’s 70th birthday, her daughter-in-law Ella Woodward – the food blogger known as Deliciously Ella - revealed that Tessa had received her diagnosis back in May. "The last few months have been some of the hardest of our lives, after Matt's mum was suddenly diagnosed with brain cancer in May," Ella told her fans. "Her bravery, optimism, love and support for others during this process has inspired us both so much, and today, on her 70th birthday, we're pledging to try and do everything we can to make people's lives with cancer better for longer.
"I'm sure so many of you have had to deal with this process too, and Matt and I will work to find new ways of supporting and enhancing people's lives who have been affected."
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The former Labour culture secretary later posted a family photograph on Twitter, along with the message: "Thank you for so much love and support on my birthday. More people living longer better lives with cancer is my birthday pledge."
Tessa was first elected to Parliament in 1992 and served as culture secretary from 2001 until 2007 under Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown. Hailed as the woman who brought the Olympics back to Britain, she was made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours lost in 2012 before standing down as an MP at the 2015 general election.
Following the news of her diagnosis, Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: "Our hearts go out to Tessa Jowell and her family after being diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour. And we applaud her pledge on her 70th birthday to help people whose lives are turned upside down by this devastating disease."