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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Former professional footballer Danielle Gibbons, from Chorley in Lancashire, was 23 when she was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour, growing on the vestibulocochlear nerve, which helps to control hearing and balance. Just over a year later she was back on the pitch and, in November 2015, she received a Special Recognition Award at her club’s Player of the Year Awards. She’s no longer playing football for a living but 27-year-old Danielle is channelling her active and competitive nature into a fundraising challenge to raise awareness of brain tumours.Read more
Freyja Hanstein was enveloped by grief after losing her husband to abdominal cancer just a month after they were married. Within a year she was fighting her own battle with the disease and underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour. She has now developed the app WholesomeWorld bringing together scientific and lifestyle information designed for patients and those supporting them through treatment.Read more
Mum-of-three Catherine Wilcockson had not been feeling herself for the past two years and was mistakenly prescribed anti-depressants to treat her symptoms. After a couple of episodes of ‘blacking out’ and then a massive seizure in May 2019, it was finally discovered that she had a brain tumour. The 36-year-old from Sheffield has undergone an awake craniotomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and, remarkably, feels like her diagnosis has given her a new lease of life.Read more
A seizure struck Adam down out of the blue and led to his brain tumour diagnosis. He underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and was well enough to take part in a gruelling cycle challenge in the heat of the Arizona desert. He completed the event with his father who, 15 years earlier, had lost his mother to a brain tumour.
“To be diagnosed with a brain tumour was a massive shock but I found a way to stay positive and this has helped massively. There is no doubt that a brain tumour diagnosis turns your world upside down. It is hard not just for the patient but for everyone around you. I am lucky that I have had such great support from my 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
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
Determined mum Amy Quin will mark the first anniversary of her brain tumour diagnosis by skydiving 15,000ft from a plane with her sisters. The trio are raising money for the charity Brain Tumour Research. With a prognosis of five to seven years, Amy is hopeful that research will help to identify new treatments which would mean her tumour is operable giving her precious time with her family including partner Lewis and their four-year-old son Hector.
“In some ways my diagnosis has changed my life in a positive way - I now say yes to many more things, I want to embrace every opportunity I can and make the most of my time. This year, exactly 12 months since my diagnosis, I will be jumping 15,000ft out of an aeroplane with my two sisters. I did ask my consultant before I signed up and he gave me the thumbs up ‘as long as I wear a parachute.’ We’re raising money for Brain Tumour Research as, for me, this is my best chance. With quality research, maybe there will be a new treatment in a year’s time and my tumour will shrink and become operable.”Read more