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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

Hilary Kingsley

Hilary Kingsley, 77, from Wimbledon, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 after experiencing symptoms which were initially put down to low blood pressure. She underwent surgery, followed by radiotherapy and now lives with the effects of her treatment. She is sharing her story of hope to show that there can be life after a brain tumour diagnosis.

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Paul Potter

Freelance marine consultant and Master Mariner Paul Potter, from Pembrokeshire in Wales, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012, when he was about to have treatment for prostate cancer. The low-grade meningioma wasn’t related to his cancer but it needed to be dealt with quickly, so his prostate treatment was put on hold while he underwent a craniotomy to remove the brain tumour. A keen cyclist, 65-year-old Paul is now fully recovered and is fundraising to help find a cure for the disease, with a cycling challenge he hopes will also spark conversations about brain tumours. 

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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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All stories

Elisha Hudson

Originally diagnosed with a neurological condition which causes extreme fatigue, Elisha was told she had a brain tumour after she blacked out at the wheel of her car. With no treatment available and with an uncertain future, the 24-year-old carer is hoping to become a fashion model and to use her role as Miss Norfolk to raise awareness of the disease.

“I feel as if I have a heavy weight on my shoulders and I have gone through many different emotions. To begin with, I was angry that I had been told such devastating news yet there was no treatment. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better not to know and not to have to live with the constant anxiety and worry that every little ache or pain, every headache, might mean the tumour is growing.”

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Elizabeth Argile

A happy, intelligent and friendly child, Elizabeth was one of four children. She was just 12 when she was diagnosed with a tumour on her pituitary gland. The life-saving surgery and complications which followed left her irreparably damaged and she remained in hospital for nearly two years. Now aged 30, Elizabeth has spent most of her adult life in care.

“After Elizabeth’s surgery, we remained hopeful but realistic about her condition. We have never given up on her and, over the years, we have somehow found a way to carry on. While the pain becomes easier to bear I now have increasing worries about what will happen in say five or 10 years’ time. What if I am no longer around to ensure Elizabeth gets the care she needs?

We do our best to enjoy her better days. When Elizabeth is well she has a lovely sense of humour, a lopsided smile and a great wolf whistle!”

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Ellen Beardmore

Journalist, Ellen Beardmore, was floored when she found out she had a large tumour growing in her brain. Aged 25, she had a long life ahead of her… or did she? A 13-hour operation followed and fortunately it was a success. Despite losing her hearing in one ear, she left the hospital with a newfound appreciation for life and she hasn’t looked back since.

 “A CAT scan followed and it was then that I heard the words that no one wants to hear. They’d found a big tumour in my brain. They said it had probably been growing since I was a teenager, in the background and had gone unnoticed. I desperately tried to think back and remember symptoms I might have missed or ignored; could that whooshing sound in my ear have been a warning sign?”

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Emily Corrigan

Emily Corrigan put her headaches down to her hectic life as the mother of four young children. She got on with raising her family and put up with the pain and fatigue for two years before being diagnosed with a low-grade diffuse astrocytoma which was successfully removed during surgery. Emily was told she had a 50/50 chance of the tumour returning. In fact she has had two reoccurences and has undergone further surgery, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Emily battles with fatigue and low energy, but tries to stay positive for the sake of her children.

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Emily Jones

Emily, a PhD student at Oxford University, was studying for a master’s degree at Exeter College in 2011 when she started to feel unwell.  It was a year later when she was finally diagnosed with a malignant ependymoma brain tumour, having taken matters into her own hands and financed a private consultation that she could ill afford. Her journey of diagnosis and treatment, which has included extensive radiotherapy, has demonstrated some disparities in approaches to treatments in the UK for her condition. Read more

Esmé Lambert

The youngest of four children (big brother Jordan is 16, Lillie, eight, and Sienna, five) Esmé, now three, was diagnosed with a rare high-grade form of ependymoma whilst still just one year old. GPs had previously diagnosed a sickness bug or urinary tract infection. Esmé underwent major surgery and completed a gruelling 19 months of chemotherapy.

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Faith Speakes

Aged 26, Faith Speakes’ life was on the way up. She was looking forward to marrying her fiancé Luke and starting a family soon after, but things were thrown off track when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Just weeks after walking down the aisle, Faith was in theatre to have a meningioma removed and a few months later she was found to have a second tumour. Despite it all, she is excited for what’s to come and feels her life has changed for the better. Read more

Finlay Niles

Two-year-old Finlay was finally diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour after his mother repeatedly pestered health professionals saying she knew something was wrong with her son. He underwent surgery and is currently on chemotherapy. Finlay is doing well and his parents are trying to stay positive although they have been told that just 20% of patients survive beyond five years.

“I need to stay positive for Finlay, he is not a statistic, he is my son. Finlay is the most loving little boy and a true inspiration to us and everyone who meets him. He is our little soldier and continues to amaze us every day with his bravery and strength. It’s easy to sit back and think something like this won’t happen to you but it does, I am living proof of that, it has happened to our little boy. For this reason we all really do need to raise more funds and awareness to help fund the fight against brain tumours for all those amazing people, like Finlay, who are fighting. Hopefully, one day we will find a cure.”

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Flora Bouchier

Flora had just started studying for A-levels when she began to experience strange feelings of nausea, hot flushes and partial seizures. She was finally diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in February 2016 and underwent surgery because of worsening epilepsy. Despite suffering from post-operative depression, she gained a university place to study chemical engineering. Now, two years since her surgery, she feels extremely lucky and is determined to change misconceptions about brain tumours amongst her peers.

“Looking back at my experience, I often realise how lucky I am. I’m fortunate that it all went well and I’m living more or less normally. The situation forced me to grow up and mature more quickly and I now understand the value of life. I can see how fragile and unpredictable it can be and I’m definitely more positive. Small issues that used to get to me don’t really matter now in the grand scheme of things.”

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Franco Pietrantonio

In August 2016, Wenna and Franco Pietrantonio were getting over a turbulent year. After the premature birth of their twin girls, who were in and out of hospital for their first year with various health complications, they faced another battle. In October, Franco was diagnosed with a large, presumed low-grade glioma after suffering a seizure in August. The father-of-three endured brain surgery to remove his tumour just a few days before Christmas which, thankfully, has since shown no re-growth. Now he requires yearly MRI scans and he and Wenna live with a new sense of vulnerability, knowing full well that life can turn upside down in an instant.

“Over the phone, the consultant said that Franco had a large tumour, presumed to be a low-grade glioma. To us, this was of little significance; we didn’t understand the diagnosis but instantly thought it would kill him. The diagnosis was a complete bombshell and it was awful. We tried to be strong and put on a brave face but personally, I felt very alone. Suddenly, I was on my own, looking after my family, and it was up to me to keep it together.”

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