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
Kay Thomas’ life changed suddenly in September 2020, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The 42-year-old from Grimsby suffered a seizure out of the blue, while she was spending the weekend away in a caravan with her partner and parents-in-law. She was taken to hospital, where she was later diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized meningioma. Having undergone gruelling surgery to remove the tumour, Kay is recovering well and is sharing her story to help raise awareness of the disease.
When mum-of-two Kathrine Gaddas, from North Yorkshire, first began suffering from brain tumour symptoms in early 2019, doctors initially thought they may have been caused by anxiety. It wasn’t until she had a seizure in the supermarket where she works in July that year, that she was sent for a scan, which revealed a glioma in her left temporal lobe. The 36-year-old checkout operator has since had surgery to remove the tumour and, thankfully, has recovered well. Having returned to work at the beginning of 2020, the Morrisons employee is turning to fundraising, as she wants to give something back after her ordeal.
On 23 December 2019 five-year-old Oliver Dawe was diagnosed with a brain tumour in his posterior fossa. Oliver underwent a full resection to remove the tumour and the pathology confirmed a low-grade pilocytic astrocytoma. Thankfully, the schoolboy from Sheffield in South Yorkshire, has gone on to make a remarkable recovery, living a full and happy life. His parents are sharing his story to help raise awareness of the disease, which ripped through their family and, in December 2020, Oliver’s dad Nick joined Brain Tumour Research as a Trustee.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
After suffering seizures, former soldier Dan Mason, 33, was diagnosed with a pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma – a very rare and incurable type of brain tumour. He was forced to quit the job he loved and lost his driving licence, yet still faced his diagnosis with positivity. A tattoo across his chest, which translates to ‘think positive, be strong’, reminds Dan to live in the moment, despite the pressure his illness places on him, his wife Roz and his children Caleb, 10, and Daisy, two.
“Emotionally, things were tough. I remember standing outside the hospital, in my army uniform, crying. My friends and family members didn’t know how to react or how to comfort me and that was really hard to deal with.”Read more
Daniel BurridgeDaniel is the youngest of three children with an older brother and sister. In his last year at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Daniel is studying for A’ Levels in Further Maths, Physics and Geography, having already taken Maths last year. He is applying to university to study Mechanical Engineering and hopes to get a place at Imperial or Bath.
Aged 17, Daniel was just 5ft, 5in tall, despite his Dad being 6ft 4in. Investigations led to him being diagnosed with a tumour on his pituitary gland, which fortunately turned out to be benign.
“Mum found the six-week wait to learn whether the tumour was benign or malignant much more worrying than me. It really affected her, especially as, unbeknown to me, she went online and looked up pituitary gland tumours and discovered that in 20 per cent of cases they are malignant. I was more worried about whether I was going to be able to continue boxing, which I had enjoyed so much for the past five years.” Read more
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
Danielle Louise Gould
After experiencing months of painful headaches and issues with her balance, flight attendant, Danielle Louise Gould was diagnosed with a cerebellar hemangioblastoma brain tumour in 2012. Though her tumour was categorised as low-grade and not aggressive, Danielle still had to undergo 8 surgeries to remove the tumour and control the fluid build-up on her brain. With the support of her family, boyfriend and twin sister Cherise, Danielle rebuilt her life after the tumour and remains determined to continue working on her bucket list of goals with her sister before they turn 30 next year.
“I was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where an MRI scan revealed the nature of my tumour. It showed I had a tumour the size of a pea called a cerebellar hemangioblastoma in the centre of my brain, surrounded by a layer of fluid. This build-up of fluid, the size of an egg, was pushing on the cerebellum, which is the part of my brain that controls balance, movement and coordination.”Read more