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In Hope

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

Rob Tillen

Professional DJ and keen rugby player, Rob Tillen, from Thornbury in South Gloucestershire, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2021, after an optician sent him to A&E following a routine eye test. First suspected to have suffered a stroke, a CT scan revealed Rob had a mass in the left side of his brain and a biopsy later revealed it was a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), meaning his prognosis is a stark 12 to 18 months. Following successful surgery to remove the tumour, Rob underwent radiotherapy and is currently on chemotherapy to try to delay the inevitable regrowth of his tumour. His fiancée, Annabel, who Rob is due to marry this summer, is fundraising to help pay for costly private treatment overseas, in a bid to extend his life.  

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Emma Crabtree

Emma Crabtree, 49, from Skipton in North Yorkshire started getting headaches at work and had problems with her coordination in 2009. When she lost the feeling on her left-hand side a stroke was suspected, but doctors assured her that nothing was wrong. When Emma’s headaches intensified, her mum insisted that she be given an MRI scan. The scan revealed she had a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour and she was given just 12-18 months to live. Twelve years on, Emma is defying the odds.

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Linda Goode

Mother-of-three Linda Goode, an identical triplet from Lewes in East Sussex, started experiencing problems with her speech in October 2021. After several noticeable incidents in less than a week, she went to A&E where a CT scan revealed a mass on her brain. On her way home from a subsequent appointment, she suffered a seizure in the car and was given the anti-seizure medication Keppra. Over the next couple of weeks, she struggled to hold a conversation and developed a fear of talking after learning that doing so triggered her seizures, although increasing her medication helped. In November she underwent a biopsy and debulking surgery and in December she was formally diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The freelance PE teacher and advisor will be starting radiotherapy and chemotherapy in the New Year.

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All stories

Caroline Watson

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.

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Carrie-Ann Greenwood

Carrie-Ann Greenwood, from Holywell in Flintshire, North Wales, was 36 weeks pregnant when a sudden loss of vision on her right side prompted her to visit her optician. She was referred for an MRI scan, which revealed a golf ball-sized tumour on her pituitary gland.

The diagnosis in May 2016 led to an emergency caesarean section to deliver her daughter Cerys, followed by brain surgery just days later.

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Catherine Heald

It took four months of headaches gradually getting worse before Catherine was finally diagnosed. One day she had such blinding pain on the left side of her head that her husband called an ambulance and she was taken to A&E. Catherine was given a CT scan, leading to the discovery that she had a brain tumour, which later turned out to be a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

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Catherine Wilcockson

Mum-of-three Catherine Wilcockson had not been feeling herself 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 37-year-old from Sheffield has undergone an awake craniotomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and, since her recovery, has dedicated herself to fundraising for Brain Tumour Research. Remarkably, Catherine feels like her diagnosis has given her a new lease of life

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Catrin Ireland

Number 13 definitely turned out to be unlucky for me – I was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour on our 13th wedding anniversary.  Surgery left me with vision and balance issues – I feel very dizzy walking any distance and suffer with extreme fatigue which means I regularly find myself needing to sleep during the day.  Obviously, I had to give up my driving licence.  I now get around on a mobility scooter which isn’t what I ever imagined I would be doing aged 41 as I am now.

“It seemed completely surreal when I heard the words ‘brain tumour’ as that thought hadn’t even entered my head.  I found myself pacing the corridors of the hospital, crying and swearing (which isn’t like me), while my husband kept trying to hug me.  The date was the 23rd May – a day I will always remember because we should have been celebrating  our 13th Wedding Anniversary!”
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Charlie Boutwood

Charlie was the much wanted son of his parents. They already had two daughters and he completed their happy family. At 20 months he faced the terrifying prospect of surgery to remove an enormous and malignant brain tumour. Miraculously he made a remarkable recovery. Read more

Charlie Clayton

Having ruled out meningitis as the cause of his headaches and vomiting, 10-year-old Charlie, who has a twin sister, was scanned. A mass was discovered which turned out to be a craniopharyngioma brain tumour. He underwent surgery and proton beam therapy and is now on hormone replacement medication and hoping he won’t need further surgery or treatment.

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Charlie Cox

Charlie Cox, from Morden, was just eight months old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Now a bouncy, fun-loving eight-year-old, his tumour has recurred three times. He has faced countless hospital appointments, operations and chemotherapy throughout his childhood but his mum Kirsty, 32, is desperate to keep life for Charlie and his brother Freddie, four, as normal as possible. Read more

Charlie Pudney

Charlie was just seven-years-old when he was diagnosed with an ependymoma. The tumour was successfully removed in surgery but, as there was a high chance of regrowth, Charlie and his family travelled to the States for nine weeks of Proton Beam Therapy. Now back at school and enjoying football once more, Charlie is well and undergoes regular scans. The experience has changed the life of his family forever.

“Charlie is the same little boy as he was before although, emotionally, the experience has changed us. We live for now and don’t take anything for granted. I am angry and frustrated to think that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer … yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. This is such a complex disease and although I understand this makes diagnosis and treatment so difficult, it affects so many young people that this is precisely why more needs to be done.”
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Charlie Sharpe

Social media account executive Charlie Sharpe, from Central London, is celebrating being cancer free following a shock brain tumour diagnosis in 2019. The 25-year-old, who grew up in Epsom, Surrey, was diagnosed with a type of germ cell tumour (GCT) called a germinoma after a Specsavers optician referred him for an MRI scan, which detected his tumour. Charlie underwent proton beam therapy, which was successful and he has now been given the all-clear, although continues to be monitored with annual scans. He is back at work part-time and has galvanised his colleagues to join him in supporting Brain Tumour Research to help support others affected by the disease. 

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