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
Sara CroslandOn 20 February 2018, 44-year-old Sara Crosland’s life changed in unimaginable ways, when she was diagnosed with a 3.5cm acoustic neuroma, or vestibular schwannoma – a low grade brain tumour that affects around one in 100,000 people. Following a haemorrhage and major brain surgery that left her unable to walk, with impaired vision and balance, as well as permanent profound hearing loss, she has been focused on getting back everything the tumour took away from her, and much more. Eighteen months post-surgery and the active mother-of-three from Ellesmere Port is now accomplishing more than she ever thought possible. Read more
It's been just over a year since 49-year-old dad-of-two, Damon Bowles, received treatment for a low-grade acoustic neuroma brain tumour. It's a non-cancerous growth that presses on the nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain and can affect your hearing and balance.Read more
Maria Watson, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013, after experiencing severe headaches and sensitivity to light and sound. The health food shop supervisor, originally from the Greek island of Crete, was left in a ‘watch and wait’ (active monitoring) situation until 2017, when she began waking up in the night, suffering with extreme pain and temporary hearing loss.Read more
James CrossleyLife was turned upside down in August 2000 when James, aged nine, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent two huge operations. After the last operation he was left with weakness down his right side, severe speech problems, as well as educational and visual difficulties. Today, James’ story is one of hope as he overcomes his disabilities and looks to a more independent future. Read more
James Hinnigan was enjoying life with his partner and their son in Australia when he was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma brain tumour. The family moved back to Greater Manchester just before Christmas 2015 to be near friends and family as they faced the uncertain journey ahead. In the months that followed, James underwent pioneering surgery and mobilised thousands of people to sign an e-petition calling for more funding for research. He’s faced many challenges along the way but now, in 2018, life is on the up again for him and his family.
“On the whole though, I am positive and try to remember that there is someone, somewhere, who is worse off than me. This is the hand I have been dealt and I have to get on and play the game.”Read more
University student James was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour after he started to have nocturnal seizures. He has managed to continue his studies in mechanical engineering and will run the London Marathon 2018 for Brain Tumour Research.
“The London Marathon has always been number one on my bucket list and as there is no better time than now I am going to be taking part this year. I will be running for the charity Brain Tumour Research. For obvious reasons it is a charity very close to my heart and, as well as raising money, I hope to raise awareness of the startling statistics around this disease.”Read more
In October 2011, aged 25, Jay was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour (GBM4). He was given a prognosis of six months. More than six years on, while still on three-monthly scans, Jay is a devoted husband to Becky and dedicated father to Teddy, born in January 2017. He has a job he enjoys, working part-time as a graphic designer.
“Two weeks later we were given the histology results. Jay had a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme. We went home in an agonising whirl to do our own research. It was not good reading. I quickly realised that the best way to cope was to look for the positives. I voraciously read the stories of patients who had good outcomes and ignored the negative ones. Regrettably, these were far and few between.”Read more
Jay WheelerAlthough Jay's brain tumour was completely removed during surgery, he then had to undergo radiotherapy and chemo, leaving him with a number of different side effects. Despite his agonising ordeal he is looking forward to starting his degree course in Animation and Special Effects Read more
At the age of 59, Jenny Lambert received the news that she had a grade four brain tumour which had probably been growing since her teens. She feared she wouldn’t live to see the birth of her first grandchild but now, 18 months later, Jenny is back on her feet and looking at life from a new, uplifting perspective.
“Of course, there are parts of my old life I miss… but there is still so much that I can do and that’s what I choose to concentrate on. I now get to babysit my grandson, James, who I thought I would never meet, and that to me that is just so special. You would think that a brain tumour diagnosis would have completely turned my life upside down but I’m so fortunate to be able to say that it hasn’t. Although I can’t do everything that I used to, I’ve ‘learned to dance in the rain’ and not even a brain tumour can spoil things for me now.”Read more
Hard working wife and mum Jess Richardson was used to managing on her own while her husband worked overseas. He missed out on the birth of their daughter Isla-Rose, but was airlifted home when, out of the blue, Jess was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She took part in a clinical trial and then underwent Gamma Knife surgery, which to date has successfully shrunk the tumour by around two thirds. Jess believes Isla has been her saving grace because having her means that there is no other option than for Jess to be well. She will not leave her daughter without her mum; that’s non-negotiable.
“Now, with the great gift of hindsight, it’s hard to imagine how I could have been so calm about things. Darren was away, I had an eleven-month-old baby to look after but it never really crossed my mind that something might be seriously wrong. I had an MRI scan the first week in February and the call that changed our lives came the following day. You know where you think to yourself ‘knowing my luck I’ll find out I’ve got a brain tumour?’ Well, that’s what happened to me and it’s no joke. I was at home on my own late on a Friday afternoon when the consultant called to say they had found something on my brain and I needed to see my GP immediately. Darren was in Iraq and I sat with Isla on my knee as a doctor I had never met before told me I had a brain tumour. The doctor said he shouldn’t have been the one to tell me the news but, believe me, hearing the news has to be far worse than telling someone.”Read more
Jess TaylorJess was just 13 years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She has endured two craniotomies and numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite her poor prognosis all those years ago, with the help of her neurosurgeons and doctors, Jess is now 19 years old and studying at college to become a beautician. Read more
Police officer Jim Murray, 52, is living with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive form of brain cancer. He has undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite the difficult times, Jim and his wife Ally are determined to make the most of every day, by travelling and spending time with their three sons Callum, Simon and Richard, and their grandchildren.
Jo struggled to receive the right help from her GP when, in her early 40s, she suffered from bouts of pain and dizziness. She opted to go private and was diagnosed with a haemangioblastoma in her cerebellum. Balancing her distrust of doctors and undergoing brain surgery was a paradoxical conundrum. The difficulties she experienced during and after surgery motivated her to write a book about her challenges and the importance of a positive attitude.
“I believe that I’m a much stronger person. I feel a lot of gratitude and don’t stress too much. I’m quite emotional and cry a lot but then I also think: why not? I went through a lot, I survived brain surgery, I have a lot to say.”Read more