Just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease
The diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating, however there is hope. We have been fortunate to meet some very brave people who have survived to tell the tale and who want to share their story to give hope to others.
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Caroline was 13 when she was diagnosed with a pituitary gland brain tumour after her mother finally managed to persuade doctors to take her worrying weight gain and growth seriously. For a number of years, she had been told to get Caroline to lose weight. Caroline underwent surgery twice because the tumour returned and now, aged 26, she will have to take medication for the rest of her life after her pituitary gland was damaged during surgery.Read more
Craig Johnston was diagnosed with an astrocytic brain tumour in 2018. The 33-year old dad-of-two from Newton Aycliffe in County Durham has since had two brain surgeries, radiotherapy and is currently on his second course of chemotherapy to treat the cancer. Determined not to let his diagnosis defeat him, Craig has turned to fitness, setting himself ambitious goals as he tackles the disease head-on. He is now in training for the prestigious Ironman UK endurance event, due to take place in Bolton in July 2021, with the ultimate aim of earning a place in the Ironman world championships at Kona, Hawaii.Read more
Neil Matheson, from Dundee, was diagnosed with a deadly, grade 4 brain tumour in June 2018 after suffering from excruciating headaches and blurred vision. He was initially told he only had 12 months to live. Since his diagnosis, he has gone through gruelling brain surgery and cancer treatment to try to extend the time he has left with his young family.Read more
London lad, Adam Carroll, was on a work trip to New York when his brain tumour first revealed itself. Aged 33 at the time, Adam collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he was told the devastating news that he had a high-grade tumour. The months that followed weren’t without their drawbacks but, 18 months on, he is now putting his time and energy into running and fundraising for research into the disease.
“I’ve been through a lot but I truly believe my diagnosis has made me a better person – I’m so much more appreciative of life and I just want to do whatever I can to help others with this disease. By fundraising for research into brain tumours, I know I’m doing something positive.”Read more
Alan PurvisUp until his brain tumour diagnosis, Alan Purvis, 50, held senior director positions in a number of large and medium-sized businesses. The successful businessman was also a keen cyclist, runner and mountain climber. The father-of-two from County Durham is still passionate about his hobbies and his profession but since receiving treatment for his tumour, he’s had to adapt his lifestyle and re-evaluate his career choices. Read more
Alan WilliamsMy husband Alan was diagnosed in 2007 with a brain tumour, following a seizure. It was just five years after his younger brother, James, passed away from the same devastating disease. Alan, 46, has been told that the tumour has now become very aggressive and, following recent further surgery at The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, he is currently undergoing chemotherapy, under the care of The Cancer Centre in Belfast City Hospital.
“During our journey through this illness, Brainwaves NI has been our rock, offering advice and information when needed, as well as absolutely invaluable support from both the committee and members, all who have been affected in some way by this illness. The people behind this charity work tirelessly to raise funds for research into brain tumours which I believe will benefit so many people in the future who are affected by this terrible disease.” Read more
Alex Mussard thought the ongoing hearing loss he was experiencing in his right ear was probably caused by listening to music too loudly through his headphones. Three years after his symptoms first appeared and following several misdiagnoses, the 27-year-old was finally diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma brain tumour. Describing himself in his Twitter bio as an ‘acoustic neuroma warrior’, Alex is now seven months post-surgery, back to his full-time job in finance and counting his blessings after his life-changing experience.Read more
Alexandra DixonAlexandra Dixon was diagnosed with a low-grade oligodendroglioma brain tumour after suffering a series of severe epileptic seizures while on holiday in the south of France. Back in the UK, she underwent surgery in June 2007. An MRI scan in 2012 revealed the tumour had returned. She had surgery again followed by radio and chemotherapy. Read more
Since Ali was diagnosed with a brain tumour and epilepsy in April 2005, she has faced life with a smile despite the ups-and-downs of her illness. Having a great support network around her – in particular her dog Harry, who was able to sense the onset of her seizures – she has taken everything in her stride. Now she has participated in an indoor skydive to help fund research into the disease.
“The 13 years that have passed since my diagnosis have been full of ups-and-downs but I am determined to beat each challenge and keep living my life to the full. I’m in a battle with my tumour and choose to use positive mental attitude, good humour and determination to keep on smiling.”Read more
Talented artist Amanda Day had always been top of the class and was hardworking at school, but when her health began to deteriorate, she started to fall behind. After struggling for months to get to the root of her symptoms, Amanda was diagnosed with a small pilocytic astrocytoma in her brainstem. Now, she is left with irreversible and long-term effects of the radiation treatment she had four years ago. She is coming to terms with the fact she may never achieve her aspirations of going to university, owning a home and having a child.
“It frustrates me that most of my symptoms are due to the radiotherapy treatment I had four years ago, as opposed to the tumour itself. The treatment has left me with long-term symptoms, such as short-term memory loss and confusion, which will get worse over time. It has had a devastating impact on my education and daily life is a big struggle.”Read more
Amanda StevensFreelance training consultant Amanda Stevens, 42, was diagnosed with a grade 2 meningioma in June 2016, after suffering from persistent headaches. She married her partner of 24 years, Ian, nine months after her diagnosis and thought she’d seen the back of her illness when, in August 2018, her tumour recurred. Now, five months on from a gruelling 11-hour operation, Amanda is doing well and is keen to help raise awareness by holding a fundraising ball on Wear A Hat Day. Read more
Sales Manager Amy Drummond was just 13 years old when she began to experience small seizures and memory loss while studying for her GCSEs. After visiting numerous doctors in a bid to find out what was wrong with her, she was finally diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumour. Fortunately, Amy was able to have the tumour removed by surgery, but the tumour took its toll on her being able to enjoy teenage life too. Now, as she heads towards the milestone of turning 30, Amy is determind to not let her past affect her future.
“I have always been open with people about what I went through as a teenager and how it changed me as a person. Looking back, I missed out on school, socialising, dating, playing sport and even making friends. I would even say my brain tumour robbed me of my teenage years.”Read more
Amy was on honeymoon when she first experienced symptoms she later discovered were being caused by a brain tumour. Initially dismissed as an ear infection, her headaches were being caused by an acoustic neuroma. Treatment was initially delayed by her pregnancy and then once more during the coronavirus pandemic. Amy is now post-surgery, recovering well and waiting to hear what the future will bring.Read more