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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Mother-of-two Sharon Jones, from Colwyn Bay in North Wales, was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in March 2021. Her diagnosis came four years after she first started suffering from symptoms, which were initially put down to migraines. She finally discovered she had a meningioma after an optician referred her for an MRI scan. Sharon’s tumour is operable but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, surgery to remove it has been delayed and she is currently on a ‘watch and wait’ until her next scan in August 2022.Read more
Grandfather-of-six Bill Smith, from Sheffield, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2021. Having overcome bowel cancer three years prior to his diagnosis, the retired induction hardener initially feared the tumour was high-grade. Luckily, Bill’s tumour was a low-grade meningioma unrelated to his previous cancer. Surgeons were able to remove the tumour during a three-hour operation. He has bounced back to good health and his post-operative scans remain clear.Read more
Father-of-two Greg Priddy was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November 2020. On Christmas Eve he found out it was cancerous and on New Year’s Eve he received the shocking news he had an inoperable primary brain CNS lymphoma (PCNSL). In January he started undergoing chemotherapy, although his start date was delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis, and then at the beginning of July he had a stem cell transplant. The 45-year-old now has an anxious wait to find out if his treatment has worked, during which time he has started taking part in a clinical trial at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, which is conducting research into the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on cancer patients.Read more
Christine was in her fifties when she began to experience strange symptoms. She put these down to the menopause and stress at work but one night, when she was woken up by paramedics, she found herself at the start of a long and life-changing journey. She was diagnosed with a meningioma and underwent a seven-hour operation. Many ups and downs later, Christine is grateful to be alive, determined to live her life in the moment and not worry too much about the future.
“My experience taught me that you never know what’s around the corner. Within one day, my life turned upside down. I feel grateful that my tumour was low-grade, but I realise it still could have killed me. I don’t like planning ahead anymore because life can be so unpredictable. For now, I want to enjoy time with my family and live in the moment.”
Cindy, a 60-year-old grandmother thought that she was going through the menopause when she began to struggle with her balance in 2013. After numerous trips to the doctor, Cindy found out she had been living with a low-grade meningioma, that had been growing steadily over the last five years.“When the doctors came in to speak to me I thought: “If this is the menopause then I must have it really bad”. But when they said “brain tumour” I was relieved. Everything made sense.” Read more
Claire Bullimore’s brain tumour journey began in 2006, when, after several years of experiencing frequent headaches, she started suffering from debilitating migraines and blurred vision. Two years later, aged just 25, she was diagnosed with an intraventricular meningioma. Since then she has undergone brain surgery and had to give up her driving licence and her career. Claire, who is from South London, now lives with disabilities and a crippling anxiety disorder. Her story, however, is one of hope and positivity, as her life-changing diagnosis inspired her to create an online support network for other patients and survivors; a place for people to share stories and help raise awareness of brain tumours.Read more
For hairstylist Claire Messer, the last thing she could have imagined was causing her hearing loss was a large brain tumour. After being diagnosed in 2015, Claire’s meningioma was successfully treated with gamma knife radiotherapy and now she is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. She has also fundraised with her husband, Rod, and two daughters, Chloe and Celine, raising over £4,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
“I was in utter disbelief. I shed tears out of anger and thought ‘I’m too young for this’. My diagnosis was a short, sharp shock that made me think about my own mortality. It was the moment I realised I wasn’t indestructible. I’m so grateful to have had such excellent treatment and because of this I’m determined to help others in a similar situation.”Read more
Claire WhittleClaire, a French teacher at Stanton School in Milton Keynes, was diagnosed with a grade 2/3 astrocytoma in 2011, aged 51. She made a decision at the time that she wouldn’t be a victim and that she would live to be a grandmother. Nearly five years on she feels so blessed to still be here.
“I was given the news by a hard-nosed clinical nurse specialist because my neurosurgeon was called away on an emergency. She walked in with a big white envelope and bluntly stated: “I know all about it. There is no cure… but the good news is that you can have a bus pass.”
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
Aged 30, Dan Braiden, from Cosham, near Portsmouth, had already survived testicular cancer only to be told he had a highly aggressive and incurable brain tumour. The developer at The Insurance Factory, an insurance firm based in Portsmouth, had suffered from a number of symptoms including tingling sensations, before his diagnosis with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in December 2019. Having had surgery and radiotherapy, Dan is trying to stay positive, with the support of his caring parents and loveable dog Winston.Read more
Dan was at university when he started to suffer from crippling headaches which led to his eventual diagnosis with a grade 3 ependymoma brain tumour. Ten years on, he has had surgery three times and undergone radiotherapy. Although he lives with the knowledge that his tumour could return, he is optimistic about the future, having just moved into a new flat with his wife and working as a parliamentary researcher at Westminster.