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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year

“I was told, at best, I had 18 months”: GBM patient shares his story

Mark Calaz was 52, fit and healthy and a keen organiser of adventurous expeditions for the Army Cadet Force when he was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was given the devastating prognosis that, at best, he had just 18 months to live. Six months on from being told he had a fast-growing glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour he is working with Brain Tumour Research to share his story.

Mark underwent surgery just before Christmas and has also been through radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Lasting effects of the neurosurgery mean that Mark, who lives in Devizes, is now struggling with fatigue whereas prior to his diagnosis he was leading hikes of up to 55 miles across Dartmoor.

His priority in recent months has been to help Mandy with skills such as DIY and catching spiders to ensure that, should she have to, she will be equipped to deal with such things on her own.

Mark said: “I try not to dwell on what’s coming but focus on the positives and make the most of each day. Mandy and I love baking and have made cakes, cookies and shortbread for the  Army Cadet Force in return for donations to Brain Tumour Research although, during lockdown, we’ve been eating the fruits of our labour ourselves!”

He added: “It’s not until you have cancer yourself that you realise how many people are affected. The amount of funding going into brain tumour research is ridiculously low so, while I am here, Mandy and I are determined to raise as much awareness as we can.”

Mark and Mandy are planning to lobby their MP, Danny Kruger, to ask for his help in highlighting the injustices around the historic lack of funding for brain tumours.

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