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.
Recently published stories
Julie Baker, 50, from Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay, was fit and very active in her community. The mum-of-three showed no signs of anything untoward, so when she had a seizure in November 2021, it came as a big shock. She was taken to hospital but was sent home after three days. Julie was not feeling right and went to see her GP who sent her to a different hospital for an MRI scan which revealed she had three meningioma brain tumours. In February 2022, Julie underwent surgery to have the largest tumour removed. Since then, she has suffered a number of infections, and she has also had temporary paralysis down her left-hand side.Read more
Alison was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma at the age of 44 after suffering with headaches for many years. They gradually became worse until she was also having to cope with blurred vision, vomiting, exhaustion and even pain when walking. Alison’s diagnosis only came about after being sent for an emergency hospital appointment by an optician and her refusing to believe that all was fine after undergoing a range of tests, leading to her having an MRI scan.Read more
Tina Cranshaw, 51, from Doncaster, was on an online work call during the coronavirus lockdown in September 2020 when her colleagues noticed that her face drooped and she was slurring her words. Tina, step-mum to Daisy, 16, Theo, nine, Imogen, 28, and Abbie, 31, was taken to hospital where an MRI scan confirmed a mass on her brain. Tina underwent an operation to remove the tumour, a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and she was told she had just six to 12 months to live. In December 2021, Tina’s step-daughter, Daisy Cranshaw, 16, from Middlesborough, was also diagnosed with a brain tumour after suddenly getting strong headaches. Fortunately, medics say it’s not life-threatening and they don’t need to operate on it.Read more
Andy Shipsey was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma five years ago. Since then, he’s had to adapt to a new norm. Once a keen footballer, runner and cyclist, his tumour caused irreversible deafness and vertigo, meaning he can no longer enjoy the sports he loved. Andy, 37, works in finance for University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and lives in Plympton with his partner Ruth, 49, and her son Ben, 23, who recently completed a 10k run for Brain Tumour Research.Read more
Ann BrownMam-of-two Ann Brown had experienced a range of unusual symptoms for 16 years but it wasn’t until her life slowed down during the COVID-19 UK lockdown, that she noticed just how bad those symptoms had become. In May 2020, she was finally diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour. She underwent a craniotomy, followed by a six-week course of radiotherapy treatment. Ann, 41, is now medically retired. As she reflects on a truly life-changing year, she is focusing on her family, as well as turning her attention to fundraising, to help find a cure for brain tumours. Read more
Ann SwaddenAnn was 24 and had been married to Alan for less than a year when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. In March, National Brain Tumour Awareness month, she will undergo a craniotomy procedure to remove the low-grade glioma. She opted to have surgery rather than “watch and wait” as she wants to be free of the tumour when she moves into her new home and looks forward to starting a family.
“I was given a choice: watch and wait or have surgery to remove the tumour. I have opted to have the operation on the basis that I am fit and healthy and have been advised I can expect to recover well. Without doubt, this is a really big thing but I know that there will be people around me whose job it is to make sure I don’t die and that I maintain a good quality of life. If anything, I am more apprehensive about the recovery than the operation itself. I know that I will need some form of speech therapy although my surgeon did joke that I was really good at talking so he didn’t think that would be a big problem!” Read more
Five years after her brain tumour diagnosis, Anna is at a crossroads. Until now, she has declined any intervention or conventional treatment preferring instead to trust her own instinct and to “watch and wait.” But, with her latest scan revealing growth, albeit minimal, she has an important decision to make.
“Physically I’m in good shape and strive to live my life to the full but there is a cloud of uncertainty above my head. I know that somewhere down the line I will have to take action but no-one can tell me with confidence when the right time is and what that action should be. It is a frustrating time but I am hopeful. In many ways I am grateful to my brain tumour, it has made me realise what the most important things in life are. It has given me direction and a focus. After all, it is going to be with me for the rest of my life and so I had better make the most of it.”Read more
Registered nurse and mother-of-one Anne Murdy was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour in March 2020. The diagnosis came after several months of Anne going back and forth to her GP with a range of unusual symptoms, include urinary issues, changes to her voice, problems swallowing and increasing unsteadiness. The symptoms were initially thought to be related to the menopause but months later, when she was finally sent for an MRI scan, doctors found a golf-ball sized tumour in her brain.Read more
April WatkinsApril was diagnosed with a grade IV medulloblastoma in 2010 during her first year at university after suffering with debilitating headaches. Her mother had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and tragically passed away while April was receiving treatment following her brain surgery. She has since been given the all clear. Read more
When toddler Arthur Ridout, from Dorset, started having dizzy spells, vomiting and headaches at the end of 2021, his parents Simon and Lauren never suspected a brain tumour would be the cause of his symptoms. After several visits to the doctor and a worrying episode which led to a trip to A&E, little Arthur was finally diagnosed with a medulloblastoma in February 2022 and was operated on almost immediately. The three-year-old has since had further surgery, radiotherapy and is about to start a nine-month course of chemotherapy to treat his aggressive tumour.Read more
Beatrice WilliamsGrandma-of-four Beatrice, an artist, was 30 years old when she was first diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma brain tumour, which was removed by surgery. She thought she had seen the back of the disease when, in 2014, an examination following a minor head injury showed that her tumour had recurred. While recovering, Beatrice learnt to paint and now, having recently celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary, she is sharing her story to bring hope to patients and families. Read more
Ben AndersonFourteen-year-old Young Scout Leader Ben Anderson went to the optician for a check up at the end of the summer holidays. Within hours he was referred to hospital and a scan revealed he had a brain tumour. Immediate action was required and Ben underwent surgery. He recovered well but needed further treatment, this time in the US, to halt the growth of his tumour. Despite the gruelling treatment and disruption caused to his schooling, Ben did well in his GCSEs and is now studying for a career which he hopes will see him working with children with special needs.
“My world had been turned upside town. I had walked into the opticians with a child who seemed perfectly healthy and was just days away from going into year 10 to start his GCSE courses. Less than 24 hours later my son was diagnosed with a brain tumour and needed life-saving surgery. I was 29 weeks pregnant. When Ben turned to me and said: ‘I really want to be here to meet my new baby brother or sister. Am I going to die mum?’ I told him no, he wasn’t going to die and we would do whatever was needed.” Read more